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Mayor: ABQ emerging as ‘center of excellence’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Collective efforts by local entrepreneurs, innovators, academics, public officials and the community in general are helping to regenerate Albuquerque’s economic vitality, Mayor Richard Berry told participants at an all-day conference Friday on technology and entrepreneurial innovation.

a01_jd_31jul_berry“People are starting to see our city as a center of excellence,” Berry said in a luncheon speech at the Albuquerque Convention Center. “People are coming together to support the idea of building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The conference is part of this week’s Tech Fiesta, which started last Saturday and includes more than 20 events through Sunday to celebrate technology and entrepreneurial innovation.

Some 1,600 people had participated as of Friday in a variety of workshops, presentations, networking activities and more during the week, said Eric Renz-Whitmore, community manager for the New Mexico Technology Council, one of the driving forces behind the Tech Fiesta.

The weeklong celebration began last year on a smaller scale to educate the public about Albuquerque’s newfound groundswell of technology development and startup activity, spurred in good part by efforts to build an “innovation district” Downtown.

Berry said collaborative efforts by the city, the business community and institutions like the University of New Mexico are “changing the trajectory” of Albuquerque’s economy to one that promotes entrepreneurialism and homegrown innovation as a force for economic development.

“The best way to do that is to teach people to fish,” Berry said. “That’s what the Tech Fiesta, entrepreneurialism and building up the ecosystem is all about.”

The Tech Fiesta continues through this weekend, with a block party Saturday afternoon at First Galeria Plaza featuring startup displays, demonstrations and talks. There’s also a two-day “mini-makers fair” Saturday and Sunday at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum to showcase things such as 3-D printing and modern technology for everything from welding, woodworking and metalworking to screen printing, electronics and robotics.

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