FARMINGTON — MMJ Delivery and Courier Service was one of two businesses that earned recognition Thursday afternoon during San Juan College Enterprise Center's Incubation Celebration. The event recognized businesses that have contributed to the center's success.

The event is important because nationally 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first three years, said Judy Castleberry, Enterprise Center director.

"Once a year, we introduce the businesses to the community, basically reminding people how important business incubation is to the entrepreneurial community," she said.

Castleberry said that in the last 13 years, 50 businesses that have used the center succeeded.

During the ceremony, the center also recognized one person and a business that have continually helped other incubator businesses succeed.

"When you're starting a business, our whole goal it be a supporter, hand holding if we need to, whatever it takes," Castleberry said before the awards ceremony.

Villarreal and Sonia Lukow, a certified public accountant, tied for first place honors in the "100 Point System Competition," in which the 12 businesses currently participating in the incubator were judged by how much they used the Enterprise Center's resources.

"It's a blessing," Villarreal said as he held his certificate of recognition that included a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

Villarreal joined the Enterprise Center's business incubator in Nov. 2012 and started with 7 accounts he handled himself. Since then, with the center's help, his business hired an employee and serves 17 accounts.

"I'm not alone," Villarreal said about the support he received since coming to the incubator.

The Enterprise Center also recognized the "2013 Champions of Business Incubation" with an individual award and an organizational award.

Georgia Gramlich, vice chairwoman of Four Corners Economic Development, won the individual award while the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership won the organization award.

Castleberry said those groups contribute to the Enterprise Center and help other small businesses.

Erny Zah is The Daily Times business editor. He can be reached at 505-564-4638.and