MVEDA promotes value to small business
By ALTA LeCOMPTE
Las Cruces Bulletin
Although the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA) keeps score by indicators such as the money invested and jobs created by companies it attracts to Doña Ana County, there are other statistics President and CEO Davin Lopez wants locals to appreciate.
Hitting the highlights of MVEDA’s annual report for FY2016, ending June 30, 2016, Lopez told attendees at the MVEDA Business in the Borderplex Forum Oct. 4 the organization’s efforts last year led to the creation of 482 wellpaying jobs. “The five-year economic impact is $130 million in new spending,” Lopez said. “That’s an incredible impact. I think that matters to your businesses specifically.”
He said that new spending benefits many sectors of the local economy, including housing, retail, vehicles, entertainment and medical.
New spending means revenue for the many smaller businesses represented at the forum, as well as tax revenue that supports education and other public services for residents, he said. “Imagine that spending never taking place…” Lopez said. “This is truly the impact of MVEDA going forward.
When you think about taking part in MVEDA, think about what that means to you, to your children.”
Every dollar invested by MVEDA’s private sector partners yields $562 in new fiveyear household spending and $317 in five-year annual payroll,
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according to MVEDA’s 2016 annual report. Every $1 invested in MVEDA by its education partners generates $35 in new education-related taxes, while every $1 from public-sector partners leads to $13 in new local taxes.
Lopez’s comments reflect the importance to the MVEDA Matters multi-media marketing campaign designed to demonstrate the value of the organization to small businesses and residents, who reap less obvious benefits from economic development activities than do large businesses, Lopez said.
In addition to the MVEDA Matters campaign, the privatepublic economic development partnership is finding innovative ways to do outreach to prospects, create facilities for companies to locate in and market the region’s assets to those companies.
Lopez said MVEDA is leveraging the resources of the New Mexico Partnership, accompanying the partnership to trade shows and meeting with prospects during the same trip.
“A lot of times there’s a belief new companies coming to town just happens organically,” Lopez said in a later interview. “In reality it takes years of creating awareness — even that New Mexico is in the United States, sometimes.”
Building to grow
“The biggest challenge now — and for the last couple of years — is the growing lack of facilities,” Lopez said.
He said MVEDA “works with the tools it has,” such as:
• using state funds from the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) fund to assist new businesses in renovating and customizing existing facilities
• working with Arrowhead Center on pre-design of a 40,0000-square-foot building for companies looking to get into a research park quickly
• addressing the lack of facilities by working on prepermitting with the city and pre-design for 60,000 to 100,000 square foot buildings that could be constructed in the city’s West Mesa Industrial Park.
Scouting for prospects
From Azerbaijan to LA, the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance is on the lookout for companies that would feel right at home in Doña Ana County — or companies with a market for products originating in the county.
MVEDA’s marketing outreach, however, is far from random.
It targets companies in specific sectors, including aerospace, agriculture/food processing and manufacturing and logistics, each of which needs the assets this region can offer.
MVEDA courts companies that pay well and have export potential.
As for greater Los Angeles, it is a strong logistical hub linked to the port of Long Beach, Lopez said. Its industrial base is growing.
What can Doña Ana County offer?
This region is tied to the port of Long Beach by rail, but has lower operating costs for manufacturing and logistics companies.
“We have lower operating costs, lower real estate costs, a more favorable regulatory environment and lower taxes,” Lopez said.
He said MVEDA is working with BNSF and Union Pacific railroads to gather intelligence on West Coast opportunities and is getting the message to the coast by making prospect trips and attending trade shows.
As for Turkey and Azerbaijan, Lopez said New Mexico Senate Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen led a state-wide trip to Turkey because it is the country of origin for CN Wire, a major manufacturer in Santa Teresa, NM.
He said it was time to revisit Turkey and seek out additional opportunities.
“Azerbaijan was an added benefit of the trip to gain exposure to an international market we hadn’t previously exported to,” he said.
“It’s an oil state. We talked with them about drone monitoring of pipelines — what we have in UAV. They are a large, 100 percent organic agricultural market. We talked with them about NMSU-developed organic pesticide technology.” Alta LeCompte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 575-343-7478.