New Mexico made some year-to-year strides in a small business survey, but overall still ranked poorly in overall friendliness toward small businesses in a study by Thumbtack, a website that connects customers with local professionals to complete projects.
The Land of Enchantment received a "D" grade in the survey, a full letter grade bump from last year. It rose three spots from No. 50 to No. 47 in terms of friendliness toward small businesses. The ranking criteria included ease of starting a business, ease of hiring, regulations, employment, tax code, licensing, training and network programs and government websites.
The state slightly improved in ease of starting a business, but saw a decrease in ease of hiring and training and network programs, which received an "F" along with the tax code. Eighty-four percent of the New Mexico respondents said the state cares about attracting and supporting new corporations the most.
More than 7,500 small business owners participated in the survey across the country. Bordering states Arizona and Colorado received an A- and a C+, respectively.
Christina Tewa, senior vice president at Keres Consulting, a general management consulting firm in Albuquerque, said in a phone interview Tuesday that her company has been able to find success and expand through a partnership with Faithful Gould, an international management consulting company. Tewa said it would be advantageous for smaller businesses to find larger companies to "mentor" them as they grow.
In March, Sandia National Laboratories announced it would offer a 5 percent pricing preference to small, in-state businesses, which prompted John Garcia, the New Mexico district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, tosay that the playing field would be leveled for small businesses. Potentially, $100 million is at stake for subcontract awards with the preference, according to Sandia.
"I can't ask for anything more," Garcia said at the time. "That's going to create jobs. That's what this is about."
Tewa said while contracts with the labs are competitive, the labs do a good job with creating liaisons for small businesses.
In FY2017, Sandia allocated $581 million of its $1.1 billion annual procurement budget on small business growth both in and out of the state, which accounts for 53 percent of the budget. Sandia spent $267 million with New Mexico small companies during that time frame, according to previous Business First reporting. Labs Director Stephen Younger wants to grow that percentage to 60 percent over the course of the next five years.