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City of Albuquerque Opens New Minority Business Development Center

MBDA Center will focus on providing essential resources to minority-owned businesses

Dec. 1, 2020

Today, Mayor Tim Keller announced the grand opening of the new Minority Business Development Center will take place Dec. 1, 2020. A $300,000 federal grant the City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department (EDD) received earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) was used to establish the Albuquerque MBDA Business Center.

The Albuquerque MBDA Business Center will offer services including client bid opportunity sourcing, help with certifications and registrations, lending and equity proposal packaging, capital lending access, strategic planning consultation, international trade assistance, and training.

“Focusing resources on supporting small businesses and leveling the playing field for minority-owned businesses means keeping companies open, people on the job, and livelihoods intact through some incredibly challenging times, said Mayor Tim Keller. “The MBDA Center in the heart of Barelas will help us continue our efforts to lift up minority-owned businesses across Albuquerque and the state,” he said.

The Center is located within the offices of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce Barelas Economic Opportunity Center at 1309 4th St. SW. The Center and its staff will maximize their impact by focusing on contract procurement in high growth sectors such as space technology, film and digital media, directed energy, smart technology, and bioscience.

Gabriela Marques has been named director of the Center. Marques, an economic development strategist and small business loan manager, will bring her expertise as a community development financial professional with background in community lending, education, community grassroots development, and program implementation to her role as director.

“The Albuquerque MBDA Business Center will be essential in providing minority-owned businesses the resources they need, all in one place,” Marques said. “Having an organization that’s really focused on supporting them will support New Mexico and grow its economy.”

A success story for how the new Minority Business Development Center can help push a business to the next level is Fiore Industries Inc. An engineering firm launched in 1989 by President and CEO Bill Miera, Fiore Industries has grown significantly over the past decade, from $5.4 million in revenue in 2012 to an expected $20 million this year with 200 employees. In August, Fiore Industries was awarded a 10-year, $130 million contract to provide protective services at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.—his largest contract to date. Miera credits his ability to grow his business so significantly in part to the help of Albuquerque’s previous Minority Business Development Center.

“The growth of my business is a testament to how important this Center will be for minority-owned businesses in Albuquerque and New Mexico,” said Miera. “I look forward to others being able to reap the benefits of this initiative and to watching the incredible, positive impact those businesses are sure to have on Albuquerque’s economy.”

From his first day in office, Mayor Tim Keller’s goal has been to support local businesses. Among the many initiatives underway are procurement efforts through our Buy Local initiative; establishment of a Small Business Office; launch of a workforce development program; creation of Job Training Albuquerque, which aims to help workers skill up and businesses scale up; and rapid deployment of grant funding to business owners to help keep Albuquerque small businesses afloat during COVID-19.

The MBDA Center project is a joint effort of the EDD and MBDA. It will be supported through collaboration with the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, WESST, New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, and other local partners who will provide training as well as event and consulting services.

“We would like to thank the MBDA for this opportunity to harness the power of federal resources to make the economies of Albuquerque and New Mexico more equitable for minority business enterprises,” said Economic Development Director Synthia Jaramillo. “Albuquerque MBDA Business Center’s grand opening is very timely, as it allows the City to assist local businesses through COVID-19 hardships, and to assure the residents of Albuquerque that Mayor Keller’s administration is working toward tangible solutions to systemic racial inequities.”

The Albuquerque MBDA Business Center will further the Economic Development Department’s ongoing efforts to build an economy that works for everyone, which includes a strategic focus on small businesses owned by minorities. As part of this economic initiative, the City is using a “grow from within” economic model, focusing on developing an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, supporting growth of local businesses, and building upon existing assets and strengths.

During this time of limited in-person interactions, individuals and businesses interested in the Albuquerque MBDA Business Center’s resources may contact them via their website at or by calling (505) 376-7823 to set up an appointment.