By Jacqueline Andrews
New Mexico is widely known for its large community of artists and creators, many of whom are actively involved in a vending network and share their products with an interested, like-minded crowd. As one such vendor, I often wonder – What is the next step in creating a business alone? How do I expand to more official, government sponsored events? Is what I am doing even legal? I need to know that what I am doing now is not going to affect me negatively as I try to move forward in the proper way, carefully creating a small business from my passion. It is certain, I am not alone in this cloud of uncertainty. I have been able to reach and relate to a large network of people in my time as a vendor, and it has become very clear to me that many are still asking the same questions I find myself faced with.
During my search for answers, I have been faced with a series of challenges – being unsure of what licenses I may need, why they are important, who I can go to with questions without having to stretch beyond my means. Thankfully, a Micro-Enterprise Development Fair will be held in New Mexico in mid-April to help me and many other local entrepreneurs answer these questions, and many more. This event will provide opportunities for individuals with micro-businesses to access tools to seed and grow their companies in accordance with local law. Additionally, it will be a one-stop resource for information on local organizations specifically geared towards helping such individuals succeed. The market for such an event is vast, and in need of this guidance here in New Mexico. While there are many opportunities to “test out” a product through small vending events, it can be difficult to compile the proper information needed as a vendor wishes to step forward into the official microenterprise category.
Through networking (and subsequent casual internet research), I have heard of companies such as Wesst Enterprise Center, and the Albuquerque Small Business Development Centers around the city but have not been fully introduced to what they offer. The information available online can seem very dry and can be tough to navigate with so many aspects to consider. As an individual who is driven by my passion, I currently am not making more money than I am putting into my art business but am willing to accept that as an initial step to aligning my passion and my livelihood. I believe many local entrepreneurs are in the same spot, and are afraid of being asked for money, or investing in something that could potentially be less help than what they expected. This development fair will offer a safe place where anyone can get the information they need in an easy to understand, humaninteraction based format.
An event of this capacity has the ability to truly build up the local community. Many micro-entrepreneurs are operating at a low level simply because they do not know how to take the next step in expanding their business in a smart, and legal way. Additionally, this brings awareness to the government that we do need a setting like this to really make a difference for many of these struggling startups. The local network of creator/ entrepreneurs is strong and very good at sharing information, and with the right advertisement – it will be no issue to get a large number of these individuals to attend this event and more like it to come.