Udall Tours Economic and Community Development Hubs in the South Valley
Udall: “If you give the right tools to folks who have a good idea, they can build their own successful businesses”
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall toured three economic development organizations in the South Valley that serve farmers, entrepreneurs, community members and small business owners who are helping to drive New Mexico’s economy forward. During his tours, he met with local community members who have benefitted from these initiatives and discussed how federal resources can best support programs to foster entrepreneurship, workforce education, and economic and community development throughout the region.
“These organizations are dedicated to engaging and empowering residents of the South Valley because they understand that a strong community means greater access to resources, better health services, and more educational and training opportunities. Together, private enterprise, nonprofit organizations, and government resources can expand access to opportunities for all New Mexicans,” said Udall. “If you give the right tools to folks who have a good idea, they can build their own successful businesses. And when we build small, sustainable businesses, we drive our economy forward and empower local communities—in the South Valley and across New Mexico.”
Udall toured the following organizations in the South Valley:
Grow the Growers: Udall met with program participants to learn more about their work to encourage entrepreneurship in agriculture and reduce food deserts in the South Valley. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Udall has long championed strengthening agricultural development programs, which support initiatives like Grow the Growers. In this year’s Senate Farm Bill, Udall fought to expand access to capital for beginning ranchers and farmers, and secured strong investments in education and training for socially disadvantaged farmers.
Agri-Cultura Cooperative Network (ACN) and Bernalillo County’s Grow the Growers program is a comprehensive farm training and business acceleration initiative designed to attract new and emerging farmers into professional food production.
South Valley Economic Development Center (SVEDC): Udall was joined by Director Josue Olivares, along with entrepreneurs and businessowners who have benefitted from SVEDC’s economic development programs. Together, they discussed the Center’s important role as a business incubator in the community. Udall also pledged to support the SVEDC when it applies for funding later this year from the Economic Development Administration to help expand its facilities and grow its food hub.
Founded in 2003, the SVEDC serves as a community hub and incubator for emerging businesses in the region. It also offers the region’s only commercial kitchen incubator space, providing an economic benefit for residents involved in local farming and food production.
Partnership for Community Action (PCA): Udall spoke with staff and families working with PCA to learn about their upcoming plans for a Social Enterprise Center, which will house a dual-language child development center, office space, and a light manufacturing and training facility. It will feature the Southwest Creations Collaborative, a women-driven Albuquerque nonprofit that manufactures sewn goods and uses some of the profits to fund essential social services for its employees, including child care and educational opportunities. He also discussed how private enterprise and government can work in partnership to grow the local economy and encourage community development.
The PCA supports people and families who want to become leaders in their communities, focusing on issues like education, economic sustainability, family well-being and immigrant rights. In June of this year, it was awarded $1 million in funding from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to build its Social Enterprise Center, which will promote entrepreneurship, create jobs, and support families in local workforce education and development.
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