SATOP has formed Alliances with Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) to help market the program to small businesses.

Within one quarter of 2003, the Taos County Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC) had already exceeded its yearly goals in support of SATOP in New Mexico.

“TCEDC stands out as a front runner economic development organization for the number of small businesses that they have introduced to SATOP,” said Kim Ford, SATOP New Mexico Strategic Partnership Representative. “They have gone above and beyond the call of duty and we appreciate their ongoing involvement.”

Partnering with SATOP to help small businesses solve technical problems in order to succeed is the latest service that TCEDC provides for the economic development of Taos County. For 16 years, TCEDC has worked to develop alternatives to the economic challenges facing the people of Taos County and Northern New Mexico.

“The common thread tying our projects together is our commitment to support and honor the incredible talent and creativity of the people who have demonstrated true sustainability in their quest to carry out their traditions and lifestyles against seemingly insurmountable odds,” said Pati Martinson, TCEDC Co-Director. “These emerging businesses would have no way to access the technical talent available through SATOP, so we are very pleased to offer this assistance to them,” added Terrie Bad Hand, Co-Director.

TCEDC’s work revolves around the people who are native to the areas and are faced with severe challenges of overcoming structural poverty, elevating their economic status, dealing with cultural tension and gaining equitable access to education, employment, business and other opportunities.

TCEDC provides one-on-one assistance to local businesses at no charge, including help with business start-up and planning, small business financial documents, product pricing, small business loan packaging and marketing research and planning. Clients have received help with SATOP applications for NASA engineer assistance, as well as with SBIR grant applications. TCEDC also provides product development and specialized marketing assistance for small manufacturers, helping with packaging, labeling and getting products to market.

TCEDC’s Small Business Incubator, which has been responsible for more than 100 start up businesses since it was founded in 1987, provided access to low-rent manufacturing space and business support services noted above. Across town, the 24,000 sq.ft. Taos Business Park, another TCEDC project, provides low-cost space for ten local businesses, 80% of which are minority-owned and operated. In two years of operation the business
park has generated more than 85 jobs.

The Taos Food Center is TCEDC’s food manufacturing incubator. Housed within the business park, it offers a fully-equipped and licensed commercial kitchen for rent to food-producing businesses. More than 40 small food businesses currently use the facility for production of retail and wholesale food products like fresh salsas, baked goods, fruit preserves, juices, candy, popcorn, etc.

TCEDC also sponsors a community garden and green-house project to demonstrate the potential of farm-to-market enterprises as well as a welfare-to-work pilot project. The project has expanded its scope as a community-supported agriculture model of consumer involvement and distribution.

“SATOP New Mexico is proud to work with economic development organizations as dedicated and productive as the Taos County Economic Development Corporation,” said Ford. “They set a high standard for assisting small businesses that will inspire SATOP efforts.”