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Mayor Keller Opens Minority Business Development Center

Albuquerque MBDA Business Center will empower minority-owned businesses statewide

September 14, 2020

Today, Mayor Tim Keller announced that a new Minority Business Development Center will be opening this winter. The City of Albuquerque’s Economic Development Department has received a $300,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) that will be used to establish the Albuquerque MBDA Business Center.

Scheduled to open in December, the Center will be located within the offices of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce Barelas Economic Opportunity Center at 1309 4th St. SW.

The primary purpose of the grant is to provide supportive services to mid-sized, minority-owned businesses throughout New Mexico and across the United States.

“Focusing on supporting small businesses and leveling the playing field for minority-owned businesses has been a key component in our economic development strategy,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “This grant will help us open this Center in the heart of Barelas and continue our efforts to lift up minority-owned businesses across Albuquerque,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

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. The Center will maximize its impact by focusing on contract procurement in high growth sectors such as space technology, film and digital media, directed energy, smart technology and bioscience.

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.

This most recent 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. “This funding award 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.

Gabriela Marques has been named director of the Center. Gabriela 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.

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