Turquoise Tours honored by Small Business Development Center

By Doug Cantwell
dcantwell@taosnews.com
Posted 1/24/20

Turquoise Tours and Events of Taos has been named a Star Client by the New Mexico Small Business Development Center network.

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Turquoise Tours honored by Small Business Development Center

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Turquoise Tours and Events of Taos has been named a Star Client by the New Mexico Small Business Development Center network.

The NMSBDC selects just a few such clients for this distinction each year to recognize those that "knocked it out of the park," according to the center's recent press release. Star Clients will be celebrated at a Feb. 10 banquet at Santa Fe's Hotel La Fonda, which will be co-hosted by Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and radio personality Kiki Garcia.

Turquoise Tours and Events offers van tours of Taos and Taos Pueblo, a winery tour, art tours and a mountain bike shuttle. The company has grown steadily over the last four years and now has nine part-time contractors driving tourists all over Taos to some of New Mexico's most beautiful and historic sites.

But it hasn't been easy, said CEO Lindsay Mapes. That's why she reached out to the SBDC at the University of New Mexico-Taos, where adviser Anwar Kaelin helped her startup take off.

"After being a tourist here, I realized the economy of Taos was over 50 percent tourism-related - but there were no tour companies. So, I said, 'We should do tours,' " Mapes said. "I'm not sure I would still be in business if it weren't for the SBDC. As a solo female CEO, it's hard. If I didn't have Anwar in my corner, I wouldn't be here."

Mapes added that she's now developing an app and hoping to grow the business beyond Taos.

"For the past 31 years, the NMSBDC network has made a meaningful difference in the lives of New Mexicans by helping our clients start, grow and sustain their businesses," said Russell Wyrick, executive state director of the organization, in a press release. "We are proud to share our client's success stories from across the state. These success stories are not just about up-and-coming small and existing businesses but also about the incredible people behind those businesses."

Funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the New Mexico SBDC was established in 1989 through a partnership with the state of New Mexico, the New Mexico Association of Community Colleges and the New Mexico Association of Independent Community Colleges.

Headquartered at Santa Fe Community College, with offices in 26 communities throughout the state, NMSBDC provides no-cost business consulting and low- or no-cost business training to New Mexico entrepreneurs. The center's consultants have helped create more than 9,680 new businesses in the state since 1991. Entrepreneurs have access to experts in accounting, franchising, social media, e-commerce and other disciplines.

All SBDC programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language-assistance services are available for individuals with limited proficiency in English, and reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities if requested at least two weeks in advance.

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