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Boosters detail STEMulus Center progress

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 100 people have already learned the finer points of entrepreneurship thanks to a year-old CNM initiative.

An update of the progress underway at Central New Mexico Community College’s STEMulus Center
was provided to a cross section of business leaders attending the Wednesday breakfast of
the Economic Forum of Albuquerque.

Debbie Johnson, director of CNM’s entrepreneurship and economic development program, was the
keynote speaker at the program, which attracted 130 attendees to the Albuquerque Country Club.
Johnson, who once owned one of the state’s largest public relations firms, said the center is quickly
filling employers’ workforce needs and services for entrepreneurs trying to launch new businesses or grow existing ones.

Johnson said 120 people have completed the center’s entrepreneurial mindset program in the past year. Key to the training is the curriculum borrowed from the Kauffman Foundation

“We looked around the country to see how entrepreneurship is being taught (best) because it’s a  pretty squishy subject,”said Johnson. Kauffman was deemed the best fit, she said.

The training is designed to immerse participants in the fundamental entrepreneurial l mindset, which she said is more a matter of having the right attitude and thought processes about starting and growing a business.

Samantha Sengel, chief advancement and community engagement officer for CNM, highlighted some of the technical and customized classes sought by employers in a short period of time at the STEMulus Center.

She said a coding academy has graduated its first class of 50 students, many of whom have started businesses or have added value to their employers.

Eighty-three percent of students coming out of the center’s accelerator classes “have taken the next growth steps,” she said, referring to incorporation and acquiring financing.

The center, which opened in August 2014, also graduated its first class of “fast track” majors who acquired associate degrees in applied science and business by going to school at night.

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