Community Success Is SBDC's Product
Ruben Parga is honored at the New Mexico Legislature by Rep. Brian F. Elgof, Jr. and Rep. Nora Espinosa.
One of 20 centers in the New Mexico SBDC network, CNM SBDC embodies the network’s guiding principle: “We’re here to help make your business dreams come true.” It does this by providing consultant services, workshops and a research library. In addition, the center offers as resources the International Business Accelerator and the Procurement Technical Assistance Program.
Founded in 1989, the CNM SBDC was one of the state organization’s original centers and has continued to be a leader in services provided. Although only one of 20 centers, this CNM center provides 10 percent or more of all SBDC services logged statewide.
A breakdown of the Center’s 2012 contribution to the New Mexico economy looks something like this:
247 clients counseled
11 businesses Started
35 jobs created
1,097 workshop attendees
That’s a pretty impressive record, especially given that the CNM SBDC fields a team of only four, plus two Procurement Technical Assistance Program employees specializing in government contracts.
Each year CNM’s SBDC highlights one of its own success stories, and it selected Chispa Company, LLC as its honoree for 2012.
The Albuquerque-based Chispa Company manufactures Hispanic salsas and cooking sauces using registered and certified New Mexico chile. The company’s signature product, “Chispa Brillante” (chispa means “spark”) earned a medal in the prestigious New Mexico State Fair Battle of the Salsas in both 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, After deciding to follow his entrepreneurial dreams after 14 years in the corporate world, Chispa Company’s founder Ruben Parga actively sought out advice and experience at the Albuquerque SBDC, where he found director Ray Garcia. Parga credits Garcia for taking him under his wing and acting as his “business mentor,” saying, “Ray has been an invaluable resource to me and our business. “
With SBDC guidance and an excellent product, Chispa Company is demonstrating a sound business model. The company has increased production and expanded their outlets. Chispa Brilliante is now available in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe at all Whole Foods Markets, John Brooks Supermarkets, and La Montanita Co-ops.
SBDC’s recognition of Chispa Company LLC bodes well for the fledgling company. In 15 years of identifying success stories, only one of the honorees has gone under — an enviable success rate in any region, in any economy. CNM can certainly point to its Small Business Development Centers as proof of the institution’s commitment to “community success.”