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NM’s Creative Startups wins Kauffman grant

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque-based Creative Startups won a $190,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to help expand the business accelerator nationally and internationally.

Kauffman, a Missouri-based foundation that supports entrepreneurship programs and initiatives, recently launched a new grant program to assist creative industries, said Creative Startups co-founder Alice Loy.

“The grant will help us evaluate what we do well, how we can improve, and what we can offer in terms of resources and support to new sites that want to do Creative Startup accelerators,” Loy told the Journal.

Unlike Albuquerque’s five other accelerators, Creative Startups focuses specifically on the creative industries. That includes everything from design, games, software and film to music, publishing and performance and visual arts.

Kauffman wants Creative Startups to help build a “best practices” model for other creative accelerators, said the foundation’s director of entrepreneurship, Wendy Torrance.

“We want to develop a better understanding of what makes programs like Creative Startups effective so that other organizations can replicate their strategies and contribute to greater entrepreneurial success,” Torrance said in a statement.

Kauffman has been providing technical assistance to Albuquerque’s entrepreneurial programs. It previously awarded a $200,000 grant for the city’s annual Mayor’s Prize for entrepreneurship.

Creative Startups is now working to expand its program to North Carolina, the Washington, D.C. area, Los Angeles, Portugal and Spain, Loy said.

“We’re building an online portal with our curriculum and other resources,” Loy said. “Our staff will support the other sites, help them find industry assistance and sponsorships, and help them build mentor networks.”

The Center for Creative Economy in North Carolina is working with Creative Startups to launch an accelerator in Winston-Salem. The center’s executive director, Margaret H. Collins, said the Kauffman assistance will boost those efforts while building the Creative Startups program into a “gold standard.”

“The new resources will help Creative Startups maintain and grow the program at the highest level,” Collins said.