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City supports local businesses retention, expansion


Business consultation and connection to resources are tools the City of Las Cruces’ Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program is using to invigorate local businesses, boost their staying power and enhance their opportunities for growth and competitiveness.

The program was created by the city Economic Development Department (EDD) in September as a pilot project at the West Mesa Industrial Park (WMIP) and Las Cruces International Airport, both located 10 miles west of downtown.

Continued support for westside businesses and the rest of the city will focus primarily around four major areas: access to resources, adapting, growth and training. The city will follow up with employers to determine whether they’re getting what they need from BRE and if the support is making a positive difference.

"The BRE program assists local businesses, first by listening to their needs and concerns and then creating a connection to available resources," said EDD Director Griselda Martinez, Ph.D. “Addressing the impact from COVID-19 was one portion of the retention and expansion efforts embedded in the BRE program. We know that strong businesses are key to maintaining the area’s prosperity, so outreach is critical.”

Among BRE partners are the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA), New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, local chambers of commerce, the New Mexico Workforce Connection, Doña Ana Community College’s Small Business Development Center, WESST and the New Mexico International Business Accelerator, among others.

“As we hear from businesses on where we can help fill in the gap, the partners, which include the city, have been extremely willing and prepared to offer existing resources,” said EDD Deputy Director Francisco Pallares. “It’s a matter of connecting employers to the right partner, whether it’s for social media training, business development webinars, job fairs, workforce training or other areas of expertise.”

City Manager Ifo Pili has focused on improving economic development in the city since he began his new job in September. That includes promoting and supporting the 23 businesses at WMIP.

“This is not a one-time shot of help. This is about building relationships with employers and an ongoing channel of communication with employers,” city Business Development Program Manager Elizabeth Teeters said. “Our goal is to be supportive from beginning to end, asking, ‘Are you struggling, or do you have plans for growth?’ ‘How can we help?’ ‘What can we do for you?’ and continuously evaluating the efficacy of the program.”

“I’m really pleased this is happening in the city, and it’s working,” said City Councilor Gill Sorg.

"Recurrent planning meetings between community partners, ongoing communication within the city departments and having webinars conducted in Spanish or with simultaneous translation into Spanish” are examples of BRE’s work," Martinez said. "Within the coming months, the program will target manufacturing companies and outdoor recreation-related businesses, which are among the strengths that have been identified in New Mexico to bolster economic development," she said.

Contact Martinez at 575-541-2428 or economicdevelopment@las-cruces.org.