Creating a culture of entrepreneurship. Cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In a nutshell, that’s what we’re trying to do in the Economic Development Division at the City of Santa Fe. Those statements may sound lofty or wordy, but sometimes that’s what is necessary to communicate big goals. In 2013 these goals are activated through programs that are touching real people in this community. Those real people are making those lofty goals become reality.
The city’s focus on entrepreneurship has evolved over the past five years with the help of hundreds of members of this community. Taking the city’s economic development plan (the Angelou Plan 2004) to the next level, in 2008, the city council adopted an Implementation Strategy that targets five industries: media, technology, green, arts & culture, and knowledge.
Since then members of the business community have put their heads together countless times, including at the Mayor’s Forum on Job Creation, the Business Roundtable, the Existing and Future Economy committees. Then there’s MIX Santa Fe, which was begun as a talent-retention effort more than three years ago. Now, entrepreneurship has taken a central place in MIX projects designed to create opportunities for the young at heart, the energetic, and the die-hard innovators out there.
All of this, plus input from professionals in our robust business development community, has flowed into the programs and projects of the city’s Economic Development Division in 2013. Below is a brief summary (and guide to the acronyms) of this year’s major initiatives:
Launched January, 2013, TVP is an eight-week entrepreneurial accelerator that is putting a class of seven start-up companies through an intensive program to develop growth strategies. TVP participants learn from each other and from experienced entrepreneurs in order to produce a 100-day tactical plan, learn how to deliver a powerful pitch and how to have a robust, evolving business plan. The companies will be presenting their progress and pitch to the community on Demo Day, scheduled for March 23 from 10 am to noon at The Screen.
Santa Fe Business Incubator
The longtime flagship program for business development and cornerstone of economic development efforts in Santa Fe is better than ever. A new biosciences lab is under construction, and the high-quality facilities and services for growing businesses continue.
Business Ombudsman Services
The City of Santa Fe is actively working to streamline licensing and permitting processes for businesses through the Business Ombudsman Office. The Business Ombudsman is also available for individual counseling (in both English and Spanish) on financing, incentives and other business development tools.
MIX Santa Fe
"MIXed Media" Photo: © Bill Stengel
Through monthly events that showcase talent and local resources, MIX provides an avenue for personal contact and networking. MIX works to develop ideas, businesses and projects with opportunities for promotion, recognition and start-up funding through innovative web tools, social media and micro-stimulus.
Santa Fe Youthworks
Photo: Santa Fe YouthWorks Facebook Page
A contract is in the works for the Workforce Innovation Program (WIP), an evolution of the successful internship placement program run by YouthWorks for the past four years. The WIP will provide workforce development for Santa Fe by training disconnected youth in the community. The program has evolved to include a new option for entrepreneurial training and mentorship in order to provide young people with the opportunity to start their own business.
Photo: © Kate Russell
In September, 2012, Santa Fe came together for a weekend festival that included music, art, pop-up businesses, discussions, a car show, and a wide variety of demonstration projects (e.g. solar power, urban gardening, transportation). The effort to reimagine central Santa Fe continues in 2013 through the work of DeVargas Middle School students, other committed community members and city staff. Real, intentional, community based revitalization is hard work, but many Santa Feans continue to see the importance of working to improve the St. Michael’s Drive area for the benefit of everyone here.
None of this work would be possible without our numerous partners: businesses, nonprofits, institutions and committed individuals. Like entrepreneurship, we know that economic development happens because of passion, sweat, love and most of all, community. Thank you Santa Fe.
Santa Fe native Kate Noble was named 2012 Public Servant of the Year in by the statewide economic development organization IDEA. She has worked in the city of Santa Fe’s Economic Development Division since 2008.