By JULIANNA BARBEE
SBDC Director and Business Owner
Northern New Mexico’s interwoven cultures, traditions and landscape are key to developing new creative economic development.
Just imagine a destination place along the Rio Grande River interweaving our creative-cultures to create “real cultural experiences” all year long through our art, music, performing art, traditional foods, storytelling, faith and our people.
This cultural market place opens incomparable entrepreneurial opportunities that provide economic benefits such as job creation and revenues that will also attract investors stimulate the local economy and enrich the quality of life. Bicycle paths and walking paths would encourage exercise and a healthy attitude. An artistic facelift on all buildings and signage utilizing our local artists would give our community cultural character and attract tourists.
This untapped expressive potential of our infrastructure is an artistic asset to our community. Utilizing our great artists to create public art such as a cultural bronze piece representing our creative cultures would be a nice welcome.
I believe the key to our sustainable future is reawakening our sustainable past. Our ancestors seem to walk beside us, our roots are intertwined, and our home has meaning and purpose. This is the place where people come back home, or people come to make this their home because of the family connection, because of spiritual healing, because of our diversity and acceptance for people.
Every time I travel and showcase a few of our cultural entrepreneurs, the response is amazing. People are interested in seeing more and learning more. I don’t think we value what we have, since most of us have grown up with all of it, it is taken for granted.
People from Northern New Mexico are featured at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. like my uncle Mike Martinez’s story of his legacy of playing the old Spanish songs on any musical instrument. Several of our Native American neighbors also are featured. We have real living cultural traditional people of all ages doing “remarkultural “ (my word) work and you combine that with the “glocal” world we live in and new innovative cultural businesses are discovered.
For example, my client “The Feasting Place”, owner Norma Naranjo continues to be a great success story creating a business at her home sharing her culture and traditions. Norma continues to be one of our SBDC success stories for the past 12 years. People from around the globe come to “The Feasting Place” to experience a pueblo feast meal, orno baking, and learn about the pueblo of Ohkay Owingue’s cultures and traditions.
Generating innovative businesses, new revenue, job creation through our culture and traditions while still living the Northern New Mexico lifestyle is possible. Social media is allowing new markets to emerge, and getting the word out has never been easier. The secret to the economic booms is all about the experience. Embracing our old with the new and crisscrossing our cultures with our technology — -a new industry is born. New products, services and platforms allow us to be competitive and sustainable in this ever-changing world we live in.
We already live an interwoven diverse life, and time brings us a gift if we are willing to open it — together. The outcomes are a win-win for all.
We have cultural and natural assets. We have resources of all ages, we have a cultural traditional skilled workforce in the following areas: artists, sculptors, santeros, wood makers, musicians, performing theatre artists, dancers, herbalist, traditional farmers, cultural foods, religious leaders, cattleman, horseman, adobe builders, potters, quilters, weavers.
Who contributes to economic development? I believe everyone contributes when you live in small communities. One entity cannot make this successful alone; it will take the city, county, tribal government, economic development entities, school officials, college, local media, chamber of commerce, local businesses, local residents, nd our political leaders to make some positive economic decisions, plans, and actions to move forward to a common goal. All people that live in our area are our most important resource.
Engaging everyone in the community is crucial to finding a committed group who are willing to work hard in the best interest of everyone can absolutely change the economy. Volunteers in our area have proven to get things done for a common good. Local knowledge is also key to a sustainable development plan.
The challenges in this area are bringing the city, county and tribal government to work on one vision, one plan that involves collaboration in the best interest of the entire area. Our political landscape would need to cultivate a new mindset that lets’ go of the old political ways and works for a sustainable future for all. More positive media would change the perception that has been created. There are so many positive stories that never sees print. The need for good, fast reliable broadband in all areas is crucial for our business development. Better planning of our land, water and infrastructure helps when an economic opportunity arises.
The opportunities are many if a special task force with the right people to include our united cultures to come together to create one sustainable cultural economic plan to make this happen. Other opportunities include; partnering with other organizations, developing financial resources for long-term strategic investments, building reuse and restoration plan, partnerships with state developers and policy makers. Adopting new business modes, embracing change, and investing in entrepreneurship in our schools. Short-term action steps can demonstrate that change can happen. Positive word of mouth and positive social media can lead to positive outcomes.
The possibilities— — Tourism with new annual events and festivals, new businesses could include: cultural tourism-ecotourism, agritourism, green industry, environmental education center, cultural eateries, cultural music camp, cultural adventure tours, cultural clubs, cultural performing arts learning center, cultural graphic arts, cultural visual arts, historic preservation story telling, interactive museums, cultural art center, cultural entertainment, old remedies health care store, homeopathic products, cultural signage business, adobe architecture, processing cultural foods, cultural amusement park, cultural outdoor theatre cultural fashion designers, cultural film , publishing cultural books, cultural computer games, cultural bed and breakfasts, spiritual retreat center, mobile businesses, cultural recreation, automotive artistic painting, cultural organic grocery store, creative technical labs etc…
Recruiting the right type of businesses targeting the needs of this area requires sustainable planning. The retail industry is changing due to Internet and on-line access. Conducting feasibility studies and business needs assessments are important to make the right decisions to meet the needs of the community. Our quality of life is appealing and cost of living is much less than the national average.
New Mexico has industry specific incentives in energy and natural resources, aerospace and defense, value-added agriculture, digital media and IT, and border area logistics. We have the nation’s highest percentage of PhD’s per capita, which provides labor for our digital media and information technology industries. Our 3.3% effective tax rate for manufacturers our national laboratories, aerospace test facilities, and intermodal facility at the border in Santa Teresa. Energy resources such as solar energy, wind potential, geothermal and biofuels opens many opportunities. Our culture, traditions and landscape also unlocks potential.
How SBDC is helping businesses and the economy of New Mexico— -Our mission is to develop skilled entrepreneurs and strong businesses through our key services by providing high quality consulting and targeted business training that meets our client’s specific needs. The SBDC can assist with an innovative growth plan, business plan, marketing plan, financial plan, marketing research, business needs assessment, loan proposals, accessing capital, regulatory compliance, government contracting, international trade, tax planning, business accounting, eCommerce, technology, legal issues, managing a business, start-up assistance, and much more.
SBDC’s also has access to local, state, national and global resources. SBDC certified experts can also help overcome challenges, discover new opportunities, unlock potential and prepare for the future.
Supporting our local businesses provides many benefits such as better health when you buy from local farmers, personal connections, generate local jobs, inspires other to open a business, enriches the whole community and local business owners give back to the community.
SBDC Planning and Visioning (planned for January 2017)
The Espanola SBDC is planning a “Creative City Collaboration Challenge” inviting the city, county, tribal government, Northern New Mexico College, chamber of commerce, economic development organizations, local businesses, artists, performing artists, musicians, wineries, and farmers. The focus will be to take control of our economic future by community visioning by coming together to discover, diversify, to reinvent, reimage. reboot, repurpose, reprogram.
Creative camp of areas of interest will include marketing, leadership collaboration, innovative job creation, motivation, ecotourism, cultural tourism and agotourism. This will also include “Your Youtube Promo Video” training workshop. Targeted business development training will continue to meet our community’s needs.