If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner looking for assistance, check out the Small Business Development Center at its new home at The University of New Mexico-Valencia’s Workforce Training Center in Los Lunas.

Center Director Vernon Mulinax said the move from the UNM-Valencia Tomé campus to the WTC in Los Lunas will give people more access to SBDC services.

“The Tomé campus I think was kind of far out for most people. Now we are more centrally located for Belen and we’re in Los Lunas,” Mulinax said. “We do have visiting offices on the Tomé campus still if we have a specific request from a client to meet there, but our permanent offices have moved.”

The mission of the SBDC is to develop skilled entrepreneurs and strong businesses, he said.

“We are here to assist businesses however we can,” the director said. “We don’t fish for people; we teach people how to fish, help them to fish. We start with people with an idea.”

Mulinax said he and business development specialist Christopher Garcia vet business ideas clients have to see if they make sense and are a financially viable pursuit.

“Someone can love making cookies and want to open a bakery. There’s a huge difference between putting together sugar and flour and renting a building and hiring people. We make sure they know what they’re getting into.

“Once that’s decided, one of the most valuable things we offer to clients is market research tools which give them pretty extensive reports for local markets,” he said. “We offer that at absolutely no cost.”

SBDC staff also helps clients build business plans to launch new businesses or expand an existing one.

“We can help clients in selecting the right legal entity for them. Most go with an LLC, which are easy and straight forward, but there are other choices. We help them navigate the registration process, which can save a lot of money and grief,” Mulinax said.

The SBDC can also help clients put together the financial projections and a business plan for loan applications.

“We work with clients to fulfill everything a bank is looking for. If you are able to give them a loan application all wrapped up in a bow, you have a much higher chance,” he said.

With the center in a $8.3 million, state-of-the-art building, Mulinax said they can offer conference rooms free to the pubic for meetings and trainings, as well make use of the WTC’s vocational lab for hands-on training with large manufacturing machinery.

“There are some fees for some trainings, but all the business counseling is free,” he said. “We are funded by the state and the (Small Business Association).”

For more information about the SBDC, contact Vernon Mulanix, center director, at [email protected] or 505-219-5202, or business development specialist Christopher Garcia at [email protected] or 505-925-8983

For questions about classes and programs at and use of the Workforce Training Center, call the main line, 505-925-8500.

The WTC is at 1020 Huning Ranch Road in Los Lunas. From Main Street, turn south on Huning Ranch Loop SW at the stop light. Continue driving south, crossing Sundance and Lonestar streets. The Workforce Training Center is on the right, across the street from La Vida Felicidad.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.