By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
Got a thriving small business with a potential to grow? Maybe even by leaps and bounds?
Then New Mexico Community Capital CEO Jarratt Applewhite is looking for you.
For the third time since NMCC was formed in November, Applewhite was in the Clovis/Portales area looking for businesses to invest some of its approximate $8 million in available capital.
“I’m here to try to find businesses in the eastern part of the state that could benefit from our capital,” said Applewhite, who had just finished business in Clovis on Wednesday before making a trip to Portales to conduct a pair of one-on-one interviews.
It was all part of a whirlwind 30-hour tour of the east side of the state.
Community Capital received around $5 million via a severance tax through the state’s Small Business Investment Corp. NMCC’s funds also have been generated through donations totaling around $2 million from various banks, including $750,000 from Wells Fargo and $350,000 from 1st State Bank, as well as another $1 million from groups such as the Maddox Foundation in Hobbs and the McCune Foundation in Santa Fe.
At least 40 percent of the NMCC’s capital, according to Applewhite, will be invested in companies outside the cities of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces.
“Our capital isn’t for everybody. We acquire a small piece of somebody’s business and then give them the right to buy it back from us,” Applewhite said. “We invest in a company and they could grow faster, if they solved some problem — it could be marketing, it might be product, it might be process.
“I want to invest in companies where the management has a very keen idea of where their opportunity is.”
Applewhite emphasized that, along with being a New Mexico-based business, the NMCC is primarily looking for businesses that have proven track records but are lacking the capital needed to expand.
“A lot of folks who may be venturing out into a new line or something, that (capital) is the main thing they need,” said Kim Huffman, executive director of the Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation. “Things like this will be greatly helpful to the community.”
Most recently a founder of SAMBA, a New Mexico technologoy company, Applewhite said that his new role of finding appropriate avenues for NMCC’s money does have some slight ring of familiarity.
“I’ve never been in the capital allocating business, I’ve usually been on my knees trying to get it,” Applewhite said. “In a sense, that’s a great background for this job.”