The WESST Enterprise Center in Las Cruces was established in 1995 and serves aspiring and existing small business owners (men and women) in seven counties in Southwest New Mexico: Dona Ana, Luna, Hidalgo, Grant, Catron, Sierra, and Otero. We are one of six WESST offices housing a Women’s Business Center Program, funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The WBC program was founded to foster the growth of woman-owned businesses by providing access to education, training, mentoring, business development and financing opportunities to women throughout the United States and its territories.
The Women’s Business Center Program at WESST’s Las Cruces regional office offers a variety of training and consulting services geared to, but not limited to women. We understand the unique opportunities and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and have designed special programs accordingly. (Our name stands for Women’s Economic Self Sufficiency Team, so, we know a thing or two about helping women become self sufficient through self employment!) Visit our Women’s Business Center Program page for more information about the resources available for female entrepreneurs.
Our client base has grown to include services (contractors, hair salons, spas, maintenance, consultants, massage), manufacturers (jewelry, artists, designers, food, product development), wholesalers (baked goods, food processors), and retail businesses (garden center, tea house, gallery, coffee, frozen treats, desserts, gourmet) – both start-ups and expansions. Visit our Client Success Stories page to read about some of the entrepreneurs in our service area who have benefited from our small business assistance programs.
Consulting and Training Services
Our one-on-one consulting services cover a broad range of topics. We walk clients through the process of doing a realistic business plan that truly reflects their business, industry, and market. We offer resource information on industries and advice on marketing and management issues. We can also put clients in touch with other consultants or mentors as needed. Consulting fees are based on a sliding scale.
Business training varies from getting started to specialized topics. Class fees begin at $20 for short classes and extend to $250 for a series. A breakdown of class types is as follows:
- StartSmart Series – A series on getting started in business
- MarketLink – A series that focuses on increasing markets and sales
- Wi$eUp – An online financial planning curriculum (offered in English and Spanish) designed to promote financial security among Generation X and Y women.
- Specialty classes (record keeping, sales, HR issues like hiring, buying or selling a business,
networking, manufacturing, product development or other topics, as needed).
Our computer training classes are usually two-hour overviews to familiarize clients with new software. Classes start at $40 (for one class) and increase to $80 for specialty classes or a series. Some of our computer classes include the following:
- Microsoft Office Products 2007-2010 (Word, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Windows 7)
- Adobe Photoshop – Graphic Design
We have a free computer lab available to clients.
Small Business Loans
If loans are needed, we assist clients with their loan packages, their financial projections, and provide information about various loan sources within the community including our loan fund. In addition to having our own loan fund to help entrepreneurs finance a startup or grow an existing business, WESST is also a participant in the SBA’s microloan program. The Microloan Program provides small short-term loans to help eligible borrowers start or grow a business. WESST is one of two SBA-approved microlenders in the state of New Mexico with loans ranging from $200 – $10,000 for start-up businesses and up to $50,000 for existing businesses.
Jennifer Craig, SW Regional Manager in Las Cruces, has been named 2011 New Mexico Minority Small Business Champion of the Year by the Small Business Administration (SBA). She was also the recipient of the SBA’s Women in Business Advocate of the Year award in 1997.
Contact Us for Small Business Assistance
If you’re interested in starting a business, expanding an existing business, or require assistance with managing, marketing, product development or other business issues, please call the Las Cruces office directly or send us an email detailing your business needs.
Our hours are:
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 pm or by appointment (based on need)
Jennifer Craig, Regional Manager
Jo Ann Garay, Program Coordinator and Trainer
General information: 575.541.1583
221 North Main Street, Suite 104A
Las Cruces, NM 88001
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