Back Where It All Began

By Ann Utterback | March 1, 2012

Some Things Change But Some Things (Thankfully) Stay The Same

A recent chance meeting with one of WESST’s first loan clients (from the early 1990s) provided one of the best testimonials about the amazing effect an experience at WESST can have on our clients. This particular client has had a successful private investigation business all this time and is now actually trying to obtain 501(c)(3) non-profit status for her organization to help victims of violent crimes.

She said that she actually was pulling together the materials she created through the process of working with WESST from over twenty years ago to help her with the non-profit documents she was having to fill out now. Her comment about that initial experience with WESST was that “it wasn’t so much about the money; instead, it was the hoops that WESST made me jump through when starting my business, especially with the business plan process.” She added that “my experience with WESST actually made me better at what I do.”

We were happy to inform her that not only did she get a great experience then but we hoped that she would consider taking additional small business training at WESST, because there are lots of offerings that could benefit her even now.

The training and consulting and the entire process our clients go through at WESST really is special and unique. Just yesterday, I heard a former bank loan officer, who also has a small business, state how astounded she was to see the in-depth exercises clients starting new businesses were going through at WESST. She commented there were exercises that she still had not even done in her own well-established business and certainly more than she had seen in the loan applications she reviewed in her banking experience. She couldn’t believe how advanced in business literacy the clients would be after being at WESST.

WESST may have the largest incubator in New Mexico, seven regional offices and other programs that didn’t exist when WESST first began 22 years ago; however, the emphasis on training and educating our clients hasn’t changed one bit. The only thing that has changed is that we are able to reach so many more aspiring and established entrepreneurs.

Here’s to some things changing and, thankfully, some things staying the same.

About the Author


Ann Utterback

Ann’s involvement with nonprofits began more than 16 years ago and includes extensive experience on the funding side with the J. F Maddox Foundation for the past 13 years. A former litigation attorney, Ann received her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1993 after obtaining her B.A. in French from Hollins College in 1990.

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