WESST is a statewide small business development and training organization committed to growing New Mexico’s economy by cultivating entrepreneurship. Founded in 1988 as a 501(c)3 non profit by two PNM executives, Joellyn Murphy and Carol Radosevich, and an initial Executive Director, Jessica Glicken, WESST has nurtured the entrepreneurial dreams of thousands of New Mexicans by providing training,technical assistance and access to capital.
In 1994, WESST expanded from its single location in Albuquerque to its current statewide structure. Today, our small business development and training network includes Enterprise Centers in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Roswell, and Farmington, New Mexico. Each of WESST’s six Enterprise Centers are funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration through its Women’s Business Center program.
Over a period that spans two decades, WESST has assisted a diverse roster of clients at every stage of business. Historically, we have focused on transforming people’s lives and creating a pathway out of poverty by helping low-income women and minorities achieve financial self-sufficiency through sustained self-employment. WESST is distinguished in New Mexico as the only organization offering long-term, comprehensive training, technical assistance and loans specifically targeted to low-income women and minorities. WESST is also among a handful of economic development organizations across the country that hosts a network of Women’s Business Centers. Each of our six regional Enterprise Centers located throughout New Mexico offers special training and consulting programs geared to (but not limited to) aspiring or established women business owners.
- More than 65% of our clients are women
- Approximately 70% of our clients are classified by federal guidelines as low or very low income
- Over 60% of our clients are members of an ethnic minority
While economically-disadvantaged women and minorities continue to represent a large share of our client base, WESST provides services to any New Mexico resident interested in launching a new business or improving the performance of an existing one. Our clients have come to us from all walks of life for help with businesses of all types— retail, professional services, arts and crafts, restaurants and catering, construction, manufacturing, and bio-technology, to name a few. At every stage of planning or expanding a business, WESST is here to educate, encourage and inspire you to succeed.
WESST is driven by a mandate to develop opportunities for small businesses that help create new jobs and build a strong business climate in the communities we serve. We have been recognized locally, regionally, and nationally as a leading advocate for small business development with a long-term reputation for innovative program development and comprehensive service delivery.
In 2011, WESST contracted with the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) to perform a quantitative analysis of our economic impact in New Mexico. The results represent an estimate of new jobs generated as a direct result of assistance provided by WESST over a four-year period (2008-2011). The findings surprised even us given that the results occurred in the midst of major local and national recession.
With the opening of the WESST Enterprise Center small business incubator in January of 2009, WESST is now positioned to move to a new level of performance and growth in the coming years. Further development of our information technology systems and online business training programs will enable us to deliver our unique programs and services to foster entrepreneurship and innovation beyond New Mexico.