West Coast Entrepreneurs Surprised, Impressed by Albuquerque

City sponsorship of event boosts their interest in expanding here


The City of Albuquerque’s sponsorship of HustleCon in Oakland, Calif., the nation’s premier conference for non-tech startup founders, made sweeping strides in differentiating the city from its competitors in the Southwest region last month.

Representatives from the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department, startup SunPort, Creative Startups and national marketing campaign firm Rough Draft NYC stood out at the Innovation Central booth, the only one that offered attending entrepreneurs a place for business, as opposed to a product. A talk-show style footprint marketing Innovation Central included videos from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, a Sandia Mountain backdrop decorated with graphics touting some of Albuquerque’s top rankings, and a table full of collateral materials and swag bags.

Information about the Innovate ABQ site garnered some of the greatest interest, with several attendees planning to visit the city after the anticipated August opening of the multi-use Rainforest Building at the heart of the entrepreneur-focused research and development campus Downtown.

“The visionary Innovate ABQ project, combined with the city’s variety of accelerators and co-working spaces, truly made Albuquerque a viable location for many entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses beyond the West Coast,” said Autumn Gray, communications manager for the City’s Economic Development Department and program manager for the National Marketing Campaign. “It is abundantly clear that innovators are hungry for spaces and amenities in a collaborative, energetic environment, at low cost.”

The majority of HustleCon’s 3,200 attendees were from the Bay Area, Seattle and Portland. There was also a significant contingent from Turkey.

Rough Draft estimates 55 percent saw the Innovation Central booth. Live, online and direct social media impressions during the event numbered almost 500,000.

Many attending the June 23 conference were surprised to learn that Albuquerque is not hot and dry but has four distinct seasons; that the city has a variety of outdoor activities – including skiing and snowboarding; and that we have a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem with amenities they seek.

The sponsorship was part of Mayor Richard J. Berry’s $1 million National Marketing Campaign. The City’s presence at HustleCon was the third and final sponsorship of a series of high-profile events attended by tens of thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide. The other two were Collision Conference in New Orleans in May and Next Gen Summit in New York in early June.

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