Entrepreneurship (Urban & Rural)

While entrepreneurship isn’t an industry sector per se, it is a strong area of focus in this region. Perhaps because we’re remote and land-locked or, inversely, because we’re so connected along trading routes like the Camino Real, Route 66, the BNSF Railway’s Transcontinental Line, entrepreneurship thrives here. We pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and, more importantly, pull others up too. We support entrepreneurs because we know that local startups are more likely to stay in the community where they were born. 


This focus area manifests itself in an effort to support small businesses and individuals through business acceleration, start-up, and incubation. Other means include: transferring our technology out of the laboratories and into the community; assuring adequate access to capital (loans, equity, venture capital), and state and local resources; providing accessible wet and dry-lab space, and tools for prototyping via maker spaces. Finally, and importantly, the region supports new and growing businesses by assuring that the talent pipeline matches the needs of those growing enterprises. 

The central belief with entrepreneurship is that we can harness our ingenuity and talent to create businesses that will provide purpose and meaning to the community, and in the meantime create jobs and economic mobility. However, some of our communities and segments of our population have experienced barriers to becoming and participating as entrepreneurs. Some of the issues stem from location barriers (rural vs. urban), and others from demographics (race, gender, class, etc). An important consideration when practicing Inclusive Entrepreneurship is to develop support programs that mirror our communities. 

Supporting entrepreneurs means supporting the footloose “Gig workers” jumping from job to job to gain experience in a wide variety of fields but not wedded to one employer. Gig workers are found in the film industry, Information Technology, artisan manufacturing, construction, etc. Rural communities embrace entrepreneurship as it provides new, creative revenue streams and because it provides economic diversification and a buffer against the ups and downs of incumbent industry.

  1. Urban Entrepreneurship
  2. Rural Entrepreneurship

Urban Entrepreneurship

Urban Entrepreneurship
Strategies for doing this? • Continue to support business incubators with operational funding
• Improve on system to start businesses - navigate the regulation
• Teach and emphasize the Lean Startup Methodology which focuses on quality customer discovery processes
• Develop creation stories that serve to engage new businesses and talent and connect them with supply chains, and global markets
• Address Equity and Inclusion by developing programs by and for people of color, women, and other groups that have had special barriers to entry into entrepreneurship circles (funding, training, networks, etc.).
• Connect eligible businesses to the Catalyst fund and other revenue sources
• Celebrate successful ventures; help them become even more successful and stay in the community
• Market the state to millennials and talent in neighboring expensive markets
• Continue to support place-based economic development to assure a place where creatives and entrepreneurs want to live and prosper
• Support City Alive’s Molino Project, City of Albuquerque Navigators and other programs connecting entrepreneurs with key resources
How would we know if we were successful?

What are the key metrics?
• Amount of funding in new enterprises
• A successful monetization
• Number of jobs created; new start-up businesses
• Increase in revenue stream
• The participation of entrepreneurs reflects the composition of the community
Who are the catalysts?

Who should be accountable for this?
• Municipalities
• NMEDD - catalyst fund
• Incubators
• Universities/community colleges
• National Laboratories
• Private enterprise
How do we build resilience in this focus area? • Keep priming the pump with education, funding, and marketing
• Create a forum in which we can listen to and learn from the entrepreneurs themselves