Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque

As part of the Rio Grande Tech Corridor, Albuquerque is home to a number of high-tech companies and is one of the 10 best for STEM workers in 2018.

Albuquerque, NM, often shortened to ABQ, is the state’s most-populous city. Named in 1706 after the Spanish Duke of Alburquerque, the city is often nicknamed the “Duke City.” As part of the Rio Grande Tech Corridor, a concentration of technological companies and government institutions, Albuquerque is home to a number of high-tech companies – Livability named the city one of the 10 best for STEM workers in 2018.

For more than four decades, the first week in October also means it’s time for the Balloon Fiesta. It’s the largest ballooning event on earth, the most photographed event on earth, and the largest annual international event held in the United States.

In 2019, Albuquerque ranked 59th on WalletHub’s list of the best metro areas for STEM professionals, while a 2018 list from Business.org had it as the 73rd-best city in the country for women to start a business. Finally, the city also ranked relatively well in WalletHub’s 2018 list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs, finishing 71st overall with a rank of 57 in the “Hispanic Business-Friendliness” category.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Albuquerque’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The La Luz chapter of the American Business Women’s Association is an Albuquerque-based group dedicated to promoting the personal and professional growth of women in business.

Coffee, Entrepreneurship & Impact is a combination of 1 Million Cups startup presentation events and Impact & Coffee mixers for business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders.

With two meetings every month, the Evolving Entrepreneur Mastermind group is dedicated to supporting business and entrepreneurship in the area.

A group of local technology businesses, the New Mexico Technology Council hosts regular meetings to support the area tech scene.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Albuquerque is home to one of many 1 Million Cups branches, which meet on a regular basis to allow local entrepreneurs to present their ideas and meet one another.

Hosted by the New Mexico Technology Council, the experienceIT Conference is an annual conference and collection of events celebrating and supporting technological advancement.

The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce holds regular events related to entrepreneurship, including networking mixers and small business seminars.

The New Mexico Technology Council hosts an annual event celebrating women in technology and entrepreneurship around the state.

 

Startup Competitions:

Nine companies compete in the annual Balloon Pitch Contest, held just before the city’s famous Balloon Fiesta, for a chance to win $10,000 and a balloon ride.

Playing off Albuquerque’s altitude and mountains, the ABQid Ski Lift Pitch Competition is a different take on the traditional elevator pitch competition.

Open to students around the state of New Mexico, the Rainforest Student Pitch Competition is a two-round contest with all finalists receiving cash prizes.

Students at a variety of New Mexico universities can compete in the UNM Business Plan Competition, a 7-month program culminating in a competition with prizes for winning teams.

 

Co-working Spaces:

With three locations across New Mexico, FatPipe offers co-working space with a variety of plans and an array of amenities, including lounge spaces and kitchens.

FreeRange Spaces offers traditional co-working options and private office space in both of its locations across Albuquerque.

Simms Space is a co-working space that places an emphasis on supporting the creativity of its members and offers a variety of amenities.

WESST, a group dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship through a number of programs and services, offers co-working space specifically for veterans and active military.

 

Maker spaces:

Anybody with access to the Kirtland Air Force Base also has access to the AFRL Maker Hub, a maker space that also hosts classes and other events.

In addition to the traditional maker space’s variety of tools and equipment, FUSE Makerspace hosts Intel Future Skills, a drone and 3D modeling course.

Quelab provides members with tools, equipment, workbenches and access to technical books and hosts regular events, including a monthly Hacknight open to the public.

 

Incubators:

By hosting several boot camps to educate its members in all facets of production, the Albuquerque Fashion Incubator supports the development of new clothing businesses.

The BioScience Center is an incubator focused on bioscience and life-science startups, offering its member office and laboratory space in addition to other support.

As suggested by the name, which stands for Social Impact and Nonprofit Community, SINC is an incubator program that works to develop and support social entrepreneurship.

The South Valley Economic Development Center supports small business in the South Valley area through incubation services and more general support programs.

The WESST Enterprise Center is a 37,000 square foot facility that connects its member companies with a number of amenities, resources and services to help them grow and succeed.

Incubators & Accelerators: Which Best Fits Your Needs?

 

Accelerators:

A joint venture from ABQid and WESST, ActivateNM is an 8-week accelerator program that works with software and software-enabled startups.

Based in Albuquerque, Creative Startups is a large, worldwide accelerator program that works with startups from the creative industries.

The IGNITE Community Accelerator is a 10-week program that works with local entrepreneurs and teaches them the necessary skills to become successful.

 

Colleges/Universities:

In addition to an entrepreneurship concentration in the Business Administration degree, Central New Mexico Community College organizes a number of startup support programs.

Though SIPI doesn’t offer an entrepreneurship major, its Business Administration degree includes lessons in the entrepreneurship and the university hosts workshops in the field.

STC.UNM organizes resources and programs to support entrepreneurs, while the university also offers several graduate and undergraduate academic programs in entrepreneurship.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico Angels is a group that invests in early-stage companies around the state and the Southwest United States as a whole.

Founded in early 2018, NMA Ventures provides capital to early-stage technology companies based in the state of New Mexico.

Tramway Venture Partners is a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage companies in the biotech, medtech and healthtech fields.

Verge Fund is a venture capital firm that aims to build an innovation economy in New Mexico by investing in startups and technology companies in-state.

A Glimpse Into Thinking Like an Angel Investor

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Albuquerque Business First, the city’s business journal, offers several newsletters covering a variety of topics.

Among the newsletters offered by the Albuquerque Journal are weekly business headlines, Monday morning Business Insider and breaking business news alerts.

The business development organization WESST offers a newsletter covering its offerings for support, training and other opportunities.

 

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Albuquerque not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

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Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.