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NM True takes up the entrepreneur

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InnoBright CEO Raghu Kopalle is featured in a New Mexico Tourism Department produced video on doing business in New Mexico. Courtesy of New Mexico Tourism Department

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If the new videos highlighting New Mexico’s entrepreneurship culture look like they could also work as travel ads, there’s a good reason: They were produced by the New Mexico Tourism Department.

The state tourism agency, which manages a $9.7 million marketing and advertising budget, recently turned its attention to the entrepreneurs behind the Taos Mountain Energy Bar company and Albuquerque-based technology startup Innobright. In the videos, the companies’ founders describe why they started their businesses, interspersing shots of their operations with the likes of hot-air balloon launches, mountain bikers and scenic vistas.

Tourism Secretary Rebecca Latham said the state made the videos as part of a partnership with the City of Albuquerque, which will have them available for use at the SXSW conference that begins this weekend in Austin, Texas.

The state has also purchased advertising that will play a New Mexico True commercial for anyone logging onto Wifi at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport during the month of March, Latham said. It’s part of the tourism department’s broader, four-month, $170,000 advertising push in the Texas capital this spring.

In a Wednesday morning presentation to Economic Forum of Albuquerque, Latham said the New Mexico True messaging — which she described as a “brand” rather than a “campaign” — attracts travelers but also can entice people to start or move their businesses here. She cited Longwoods International research that found those who have seen the ads were 133 percent more likely to consider New Mexico a good place to start a business.

“I know what you’re thinking: It’s totally different,” Latham told the crowd of about 150 business leaders. “You don’t market tourism the same way you market economic development, but there is definitely a synergy there.”

In the Taos Mountain Energy video, executives tout the state’s Local Economic Development Act and the opportunity to “not just be another startup within a state where you have hundreds, if not thousands, of startups popping up every year.” But they also cite Taos’ “majestic nature” and “authenticity.”

Latham said in an interview her department has no plan for paid placement of the ads yet.

“We want to see what they can do organically,” she said. “But we wanted to create content that could be useful in business recruitment efforts.”

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