The first Green For All Business Academy was held at the University of Phoenix in Albuquerque, New Mexico, last Tuesday, March 30, and we're proud to say it was a tremendous success. The room was filled with nearly 60 small green business owners, who together represented a variety of different sectors, ranging from solar energy to sprout farming. They all took time out of their busy schedules to attend this daylong event, with the goal being to provide them with resources, tools, and a network they could utilize in their efforts to grow their businesses and create jobs. Many of these entrepreneurs came away with great contacts, and a few even found leads on prospective financing.
After all, there were a variety of local capital providers in the room. Representatives from microlending institutions like ACCION, Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team (WESST), and The Loan Fund all explained their lending procedures and requirements. Then there were folks from venture capital firms, such as New Mexico Community Capital and Technology Ventures Corporation, who detailed what they look for in companies seeking equity investments. Finally, there were traditional lenders, such as Wells Fargo and Capital Certified Development Corporation, who along with the District Director of the Small Business Administration (SBA), talked about various SBA loans for which entrepreneurs could apply.
While financing was certainly a popular topic, equally compelling for many of the attendees was a panel that featured successful founders of companies like Unirac, Sacred Power, Concept Green, Southwest Green Building Center, and Growing Green Energy. This diverse group of leaders talked about the positives – as well as the pitfalls – of running a company focused on the triple bottom line. Then keynote speaker Randy Sadewic, General Manager of Positive Energy, provided inspirational thoughts and a compelling example of employee ownership that was of interest to many in the room. The Academy also featured State Senator Tim Keller, New Mexico Economic Development Green Economy Manager Brendan Miller, and representatives from the Sandia National Laboratories, all of whom were able to provide useful perspectives on policy and government contracting.
Special thanks to all of those who attended and spoke at the Business Academy! Best of luck in your shared efforts to build an inclusive green economy in Albuquerque.