Mary Ellen Merrigan

 

What do a sustainable sewing-notions company, a manufacturing-process inspection company and a homecare medical- and service-assistance company have in common?

Each of these entrepreneurial ventures is located in the Santa Fe Business Incubator, SFBI. SFBI has housed and supported a wide variety of businesses during its 15-year history, from lifestyle and service businesses to companies developing advanced engineering materials and processes.

According to Marie Longserre, SFBI president and CEO since its 1997 inception, diversification is only one ingredient of a successful incubator. “Helping client companies grow requires ongoing evaluation and then adding, removing or adapting services accordingly. First and foremost, SFBI is responsive. That’s why incubation works.”

According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan and the National Business Incubation Association NBIA entitled Business Incubation Works, an amazing 87 percent of business-incubation graduates stay in business.

 

Program support key to success

The 30,000 square foot SFBI facility is one of six certified business incubators in New Mexico. It offers far more than housing to client companies. Business support ranges from educational and training programs to business coaching and mentoring by staff and experienced volunteers, to connections to sources of capital and old-fashioned networking with other entrepreneurs. “SFBI helps people achieve their dreams to start and grow a business and create jobs,” Longserre continued.

 

Client companies echo praise

Near Sea Naturals, a sustainable fabric company, emphasizes its triple-bottom-line of people, planet and profit. President Tara Bloyd commented: “Moving to the incubator was definitely the right choice for us. We could grow while still maintaining both our commitment to eco-friendliness and the personal touch that so defines who we are. People at SFBI went out of their way to ensure that our environmental standards were upheld; they also made it possible for us to work with business experts who introduced us to new ideas and concepts that helped us mature our business plan and better focus our goals.”

Sigma Labs, Inc., a client company specializing in machining processes, welding and manufacturing processes, plans an expansion this spring. The company recently was awarded two US patents for technology currently in development. Mark J. Cola, president and CEO of Sigma Labs, Inc. acknowledged, “Helping small start-up businesses is important to America.”

One of the newest clients at SFBI, Nurses with Heart Home Care, said this: “SFBI helps to grow small businesses, which can then further assist and employ others in the community.” Nurses with Heart Home Care provides medical and home assistance services to all individuals, covering infant care to end-of-life management for Santa Fe County. Since entering the facility in late 2012, Nurses with Heart Home Care has added three full-time and two part-time employees.

 

SFBI Expands Offerings

Thanks to a $1.25 million grant from the US Economic Development Administration, SFBI is now gearing up to offer even more diverse opportunities to Santa Fe and Northern NM. Construction is expected to be complete in early second quarter.

This is today’s technology, and it brings a new meaning to shared resources,” Longserre said. “Start-ups and small companies can now use highly specialized equipment without the capital expense of ownership.” Board member and advisory committee chair Alex Padilla added: “Commercialization of innovative bioscience technologies will create new businesses and jobs in NM.”

 

Conclusion:

Incubators typically respond positively to new industry sectors. SFBI has fielded programs and clients in energy-related businesses, green business or software analytics, to name just a few segments. Longserre added: “We’ll continue to diversify. Our job is to recognize the trends and respond with resources to grow client businesses and the economy of our community.”

 

 

Mary Ellen Merrigan of the Merrigan Group adds visibility to client marketing. To discuss practical and accountable action steps with her, call 505.280.9772 or email Maryellen@merrigangroup.com

 

 

 

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