- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A new program that won unanimous approval from the State Investment Council will give startup companies the capital they need to bring new innovations and ideas to the market, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said Tuesday.

Martinez and the rest of the council voted to approve the program during their regular meeting in Santa Fe.

“Improving access to capital continues to be an important need throughout the state, and this will help New Mexico continue to build on the momentum we’ve achieved over the last few years in diversifying our economy and growing the private sector,” Martinez said.

Under the program, a fund will be established using a combination of state, federal and private money. It will be used for small investments in for-profit micro funds around the state that provide seed money for startups.

The micro funds must contribute at least 50 percent in matching money, which could double the amount of capital available for seed and early-stage investments.

Gary Oppedahl, the city of Albuquerque’s director of economic development, told the Albuquerque Journal (https://bit.ly/1mTQoqa ) the idea is that the fund acts as a catalyst to attract more private investment. “A lot of private money has been on the sidelines waiting for the SIC to provide the leadership and leverage to attract more private investment,” he said.

State financial officials said during the meeting there will be rigid reporting requirements for the program.

The fund will be made up of $10 million from the state’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund. Another $5 million each would come from the U.S. Treasury Department and private investors.

Martinez and other supporters of the program said it will serve as another tool to attract business to New Mexico along with existing tax credits and job-training incentives.

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