Below is an insightful guest editorial article written by Chris Schroeder and published in the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday, March 31, 2019.
The article is then followed by further “Analysis and Commentary.”
The title of the article is “NM Real Opportunity Is Small Business.”
Chris is 35 years old, has lived his entire life in Albuquerque and New Mexico, was educated at UNM and has been married to his wife Crystal for 6 years and the couple have a two-and-a-half-year-old child.
Since 2014, Chris Schroeder has been the Chief Operating Officer for the highly successful Real Time Solutions, a web-based software company headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico with its offices in downtown Albuquerque.
With over 15 years of experience of creating high-performing websites and applications for his customers, Chris and his company Real Time Solutions is making a difference for his customers.
Chris is passionate about Albuquerque and New Mexico.
He serves on several boards and is actively engaged in new initiatives that are geared to make Albuquerque and New Mexico stronger.
Two major initiatives that Chris Schroeder is involved with are SOMOS ABQ and WeConnectNM.
SOMOS ABQ is a downtown festival conceived by young professionals to illuminate the beauty and brilliance of Albuquerque. SOMOS ABQ is everything we love about Albuquerque: its food, its music, its art, its community and its sun for days on end.
SOMOS ABQ combines those loves with creative forces, showing instead of telling, and sharing the pride in our beautiful city.
Last year, over 25,000 attended the annual SOMOS event in downtown.
WeConnectNM is an active community group that was formed to support and promote New Mexico as an exceptional place to establish a business, connect to opportunities, raise a family and enjoy a unique quality of life.
The vision of WeConnectNM is to make New Mexico the most “Small Business Friendly State in the Nation.”
ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL GUEST COMMENTARY BY CHRIS SCHROEDER:
“I’m somewhat shocked by what I’ve been reading lately regarding Amazon’s decision to pull out of New York City. It’s hard for me to understand how this is a long-term win for that community. The online giant promised to bring 25,000 new jobs with the average salary north of $100,000 a year. That’s $2.5 billion in payroll alone, annually! I think it’s fair to say that, given the opportunity, New Mexico would roll out the red carpet and welcome Amazon with open arms. I know I would.
While the Amazon deal is an incredible game changer, there is an alternative opportunity facing our state that has the potential to create explosive growth in our economy.
That opportunity is small business.
New Mexico is largely a small-business state. There are over 150,000 businesses, and 99% of them are small businesses that employ 54% of all New Mexicans. The local entrepreneurs that run these companies are the brave souls that ultimately drive this economy. These individuals create the companies that bring new wealth and economic growth to a region in the form of jobs, increased revenues and a thriving business sector. I think it is fair to say that small business is the heartbeat of our economy and certainly the backbone. Since that is the case, we must do everything we can to support our businesses and ensure their success and growth.
Recently, I’ve heard individuals set a vision for New Mexico to become the most business-friendly state in the nation. While that sounds great, truthfully, I think it’s completely unrealistic. We are competing with Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Utah, etc., that all have booming economies, incredibly business-friendly climates, and proven track records. Why would we try to compete with these states at their level? Our strategy for economic growth must be different. Michael Porter, a professor at the Harvard School of Business, wrote, “Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.” New Mexico must choose to be different when it comes to our strategy for economic growth. While everyone else is trying to woo the proverbial Amazon, we must choose to invest in our own.
In doing so, New Mexico could become the most small-business-friendly state in the nation. That is a vision that is attainable, sustainable and incredibly beneficial to our communities.
In order to realize this vision, we must become jealous for our local companies and prop up our home-grown firms. We must realize that doing business with them is in the community’s best interest, and that our tax dollars are best spent on local, New Mexico companies that employ the best and the brightest. We must support our local entrepreneurs by connecting them to resources, encouraging the development of essential infrastructure and creating incentives designed to support their growth. If we are able to do this, New Mexico’s economy will dramatically grow from within.
And if we can sustainably grow from within, then perhaps our children can lure the Amazons of their generation to our incredible state. Or better yet, foster the growth of a New Mexico company to become the next global corporate giant right here in the Land of Enchantment.”
DINELLI COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Chris Schroeder, at age 35, in a real sense represents Albuquerque’s future as being now.
According to US Census figures, in 2010, New Mexico’s median age was 36.7.
In 2017 the most recently released data show it was 37.8.
A major reason for the increase in New Mexico’s higher median age is young people leaving New Mexico in droves, something that has been going on for the last 8 years.
According to the Census Bureau, the nation’s Hispanic population is young, with a median age of 29.3 compared with 38.0 for the country as a whole.
In New Mexico, the median age of the Hispanic population statewide was the same in 2010 and was 30.3 years old and was the same in 2017.
Between 2011 and 2016, 42,000 more people exited the state than entered and there was unprecedented exodus of young people leaving the state with the majority being the college educated.
ECONOMIC BASE JOBS VERSUS SERVICE INDUSTRY JOBS
An “economic base job” is one created or needed by a business or industry that increases economic growth of a region by increasing exports of manufactured products, goods or services from the local economy or region to another region or economy thereby increasing the size of the local economy with profits and cash flow from outside the region.
The corner stone of the “economic base theory” is that an increase in economic growth of a region or economy is dependent on increase in exports, manufactured goods or services from one region or economy to another region or economy and supplying markets outside the local economy.
A service-based industry is one that offers its products, goods or services primarily within a particular region and does not supply markets outside the region nor increase the economic base of a region.
In general, service base industries offer lower paying or minimum wage jobs not requiring much education or technical skills while economic base industries provide jobs requiring higher education and higher trained skills.
SMALL BUSINESS INVESTMENT KEY TO CREATING ECONOMIC BASE JOBS
Current City a State Government officials are damn fools is they do not listen to and take notice to what Chris Schroeder has to say about small business being Albuquerque’s and New Mexico’s opportunity to diversify our economy.
Simply put, small businesses create economic base jobs.
Chris Schroeder accurately points out:
“… New Mexico must choose to be different when it comes to our strategy for economic growth. While everyone else is trying to woo the proverbial Amazon, we must choose to invest in our own … and prop up our home-grown firms. We must realize that doing business with them is in the community’s best interest, and that our tax dollars are best spent on local, New Mexico companies that employ the best and the brightest. We must support our local entrepreneurs by connecting them to resources, encouraging the development of essential infrastructure and creating incentives designed to support their growth. … ”
The City of Albuquerque needs to make a much bigger commitment in helping small business development.
The 2018-2019 approved budget for the city’s Economic Development was a pathetic $3.9 million out of a total operating revenue and approved budget of at almost a billion dollars at $955,300,000 for fiscal year 2018-2019.
Albuquerque can and must expand and find better ways to use financial incentives for small business development.
The City’s Economic Development Department needs to find a better way to help small business.
A good start would be funding a $20 million initial startup fund for new small businesses with claw back provisions and with the program administered by the Economic Development Department.
Our elected officials and the business community, including the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Albuquerque Economic Development (AED), the Economic Forum, NAIOP and the banking, finance and development industries tend to give lip service to small business development.
The Hispano Chamber of Commerce provides far more help and assistance to developing new, small businesses.
The City, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Albuquerque Economic Development (AED), the Economic Forum, NAIOP and the banking, finance and development industries need to think long and hard about finally doing something to help smaller business investment and development instead of just being satisfied with protecting their own financial interests, bottom lines and membership numbers.
City and county government and the business community need to listen more carefully to successful young business people like Chris Schroeder who have a much bigger stake in this city’s and the state’s future because of their age and the ages of their children.
Otherwise, the only jobs for millennial’s will be employment in old age homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals and funeral homes taking care of the needs of the age group of 55 to 90 while Albuquerque becomes just another dying dusty little community in the Southwest.
Below are links to 3 other related blog articles from last year that are on topic:
Where Have All The Young People Gone? Gone For Jobs Elsewhere Everyone!
Race And Equity Profile Report Gives Economic Development Roadmap