Some of our country’s most enterprising teens and 20-somethings – many from metropolitan areas of the Northeast – added Albuquerque this month to their list of viable places to grow their startups or continue their education.
The City of Albuquerque’s sponsorship of Next Gen Summit, the nation’s premier conference for young entrepreneurs, introduced them to the myriad offerings of our entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as to the University of New Mexico’s Innovation Academy and to Central New Mexico Community College’s Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp and Cyber Academy.
Many of the approximately 500 attending the conference in New York City from June 2-4 had not heard of Albuquerque before the event but were excited to learn what Albuquerque could offer them as they begin searching for places to move after college or high school graduation. Others were already seeking cities that could help them take their companies to the next level. All eagerly handed out business cards and launched into well-rehearsed company pitches.
Apps, socially conscious endeavors, health and medicine, STEM-related products, and products designed with students in mind were among the diverse and impressive array of companies started by attendees.
The initiative was part of Mayor Richard J. Berry’s $1 million National Marketing Campaign.
“These young people are at that stage where anything, anywhere is possible for them. Their minds are open, they’re curious, and they are looking for people who show an interest in their ideas. This event gave Albuquerque the opportunity to turn their heads our way, during a time that relocating is not only doable but also likely,” said Autumn Gray, communications manager for the City’s Economic Development Department and program manager for the National Marketing Campaign.
Representatives from the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department, Innovation Academy, CNM Ingenuity, 1 Million Cups and national marketing campaign firm Rough Draft NYC impressed Next Gen attendees with a contemporary talk-show style booth marketing Innovation Central, Albuquerque’s startup community. With a Sandia Mountain sunset as a backdrop, the booth featured a monitor showing videos from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, graphics touting some of Albuquerque’s top rankings, and images of accelerators and startups.
Rough Draft estimates 100 percent of those present saw the Innovation Central booth due to its prime location; live, online and direct social media impressions during the event numbered about 191,000; and representatives at the booth spoke with 110 of the attendees, or 20 percent, only 11 of whom had been to Albuquerque.
The National Marketing Campaign is preparing to sponsor HustleCon, a conference for non-tech startup founders, June 23 in Oakland, Calif.