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ABQid biz accelerator wins $295K EDA grant

T.J. Cook, executive director of ABQid, stands in front of the organization’s former offices downtown in this file photo.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The ABQid business accelerator won a $295,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to support its operations and management.

The accelerator, which merged with Central New Mexico Community College in January, will use the money to further build its training programs in Albuquerque and other parts of the state, and to continue raising money for ABQid’s seed fund for investments in startup companies.

“It will boost our efforts to continue building the accelerator and create a more robust pipeline of startup deal flow,” said Kyle Lee, executive director for CNM Ingenuity, a nonprofit that manages all of the college’s commercial activities. “It will also help expand our seed fund by getting the word out to more folks about our efforts to raise money to invest in companies.”

Since launching in 2014, ABQid has trained and mentored 45 companies through its accelerator programs, including 36 that participated in 12-week summer workshops that it ran until 2017.

Last fall, the accelerator modified its approach in partnership with the WESST Enterprise Center, creating a new, eight-week program with smaller cohorts of up to five companies. The new ActivateNM accelerator, housed at WESST, combines ABQid’s lean-startup model of intensive mentoring, coaching and customer validation of startup products and services with WESST’s focus on building operational foundations to help companies manage things like accounting systems and regulations and requirements needed to operate and sustain businesses.

To date, nine companies have graduated from ActivateNM, with another five expected to join the program this fall, said ABQid Executive Director T.J. Cook. Applications are open for the new cohort through Sept. 6.

ABQid also wants to strengthen its partnerships around New Mexico to offer programming in targeted communities, such as Taos, Los Alamos and Socorro, Cook said.

The EDA grant will support staff time and traveling as well to bolster investor relationships.

“We’ve had significant investment activity lately that’s drawn down our investment capital,” Cook said. “It’s a good time to raise more money.”

ABQid has invested about $2.2 million in 32 companies since 2014. It still has about $500,000 remaining in deployable capital, plus a commitment for $2 million from the state Catalyst Fund that will start to flow once ABQid has fully raised matching funds.


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