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AED meeting spotlights ABQ startups

tonjesALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque’s new-found groundswell of startup businesses and entrepreneurial innovation will be highlighted at Albuquerque Economic Development’s quarterly luncheon today at the Embassy Suites Hotel.

The event will spotlight the new city-backed “venture accelerator” ABQid Inc., which is launching in August to provide training, mentoring and seed funding to help local entrepreneurs with great ideas create and grow new businesses.

Executives from two homegrown technology firms also will present the challenges and achievements of their new ventures. That includes BoomTime – a rapidly growing startup that launched in 2005 to offer digital marketing services for small businesses nationwide – and the newly formed company Bandojo, which is marketing software developed at the University of New Mexico to allow people to compose music on computers and mobile devices.

“We’re excited about the public and private sectors coming together with institutions like UNM and Central New Mexico Community College to pool resources and stimulate the economy,” said AED President Gary Tonjes. “Innovation, entrepreneurialsim and startups are critical elements for economic development.”

Initiatives like ABQid and “Innovate ABQ,” which aims to build a vibrant research and development district Downtown, are all about creating local jobs through grassroots entrepreneurial growth, said ABQid Chairman Bill Bice, one of the event’s keynote speakers.

Bice is a general partner in the Verge Fund and chairman of BoomTime – a Verge-backed company that he co-founded.

“There weren’t a lot of resources when I started out as an entrepreneur years ago in Albuquerque, but today, with initiatives like ABQid and others emerging in the city, we can make it a lot easier for businesspeople to create and grow startups,” Bice said.

Meanwhile, an executive from Canon Information Technology Services Inc., which announced plans last fall to open a 34,000-square-foot call center in Albuquerque with about 150 employees, also will speak at the luncheon. The company, a subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., provides technical support to customers for products like digital cameras, camcorders and printers.

“They just opened their doors on June 2,” Tonjes said. “They’ll provide an update on what’s happening with the company and how the transition into Albuquerque is going.”

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