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City adds to business initiatives

Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal

The newest of the city’s entrepreneurial initiatives is a “business accelerator” program that will start this summer, said Gary Oppedahl, Albuquerque’s new Economic Development Department director.

It will include frequent “business fairs” to provide orientation and resources to help aspiring businesspeople launch companies, plus special training and mentoring for select startup companies that demonstrate potential to succeed in the market.

The accelerator initially will be housed at the Verge building, an incubator for high-tech startups near the convention center.

“We’ll have small business fairs and startup conferences to identify companies that are ready to take the next step and then put them through entrepreneurial boot camps to provide skills and knowledge to move forward,” Oppedahl said.

“We’ll also choose particularly promising startups through an application for intensive, 90-day training. That could include seed grants of $20,000 or more, plus mentoring and help connecting with private investors and other resources to raise capital.”

In addition, the city expects to receive funding for some projects from “Living Cities,” a collaborative of charitable groups and banks that selected Albuquerque this year as one of five cities invited to apply for community development assistance.

“We see the innovation district as a place where ideas and entrepreneurs collide, like a beehive to push creativity and development,” Oppedahl said.