ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – First a global pandemic, now inflation and shortages. Small businesses are facing challenge after challenge and an Albuquerque-based non-profit is dedicated to helping them stay afloat. “We do crack seal, seal coating, and striping for commercial properties,” said Ramon Martinez, owner of ABC Stripe LLC.

While business is going well, the pandemic brought some challenges. “The pandemic was a little hard. It was good that we were an essential company so we were able to go out and work. So, we had some good customers that kept us afloat,” said Martinez.

Pandemic fallout like inflation and labor market issues are only bringing more obstacles for small businesses like Martinez’s. “Post pandemic, it’s been a little challenge due to the inflation, prices have gone through the roof. Paint has gone 40% and it’s kind of hard to pass that on to your customers,” he said.

That’s where the Albuquerque-based non-profit, DreamSpring, steps in. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They are some of the most important fabric and social fabric of our communities,” said Anne Haines, President and CEO of DreamSpring.

DreamSpring is dedicated to helping underserved or underrepresented entrepreneurs start or grow their small businesses by providing loans and other ways of support. “We probably had by far the most dramatic year ever in 2021 during the pandemic with the number of businesses we were able to serve,” said Haines.

Martinez said ABC Stripe has gotten three loans through the non-profit, getting needed capital to stay alive. “I’m really grateful that they’re there for small businesses. They’re really there to help you out,” said Martinez. “Things are looking good I can’t complain, there’s plenty of work, so we’re doing good.”

Since starting in 1994, DreamSpring has issued more than 42,000 loans totaling more than $465 million to small businesses. It also has a new partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration to offer a ‘fast forward’ loan where small businesses can get three-month loans up to $10,000 with 0% interest.