By Kevin Robinson-Avila
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Creative Startups”in Albuquerque already provides intensive, eight-week training courses for new businesses. Now the program is adding special boot camps to help fledgling entrepreneurs still at the baby-step level.
Aspiring, first-time entrepreneurs in the creative industries can join a crash course that the Creative Startups business accelerator is launching this month in Albuquerque.
The new, four-week boot camp aims to train and mentor not-yet-ready-for-prime-time entrepreneurs on how to move beyond the pre-revenue, idea stage, said Creative Startups program manager Julia Youngs.
Creative Startups, which began in 2014, already provides intensive, eight-week training courses for new businesses. But Young says the boot camps are critical to help fledgling entrepreneurs still at the baby-step level make more progress to better prepare them for entering a formal accelerator program.
“Over the last three years, we’ve seen many locals interested in creative ventures who apply to our accelerator but are not quite ready for our full program,” Youngs said. “There is no local program to address their needs, so we’re launching the new boot camps to work with them.”
The accelerator is actually launching two sets of boot camps. The first is a general boot camp open to people who have a great idea or business interest in the creative realm, which includes everything from design, games, software and film to music, publishing and performance and visual arts.
It costs $200 and will run from March 31-April 22, with sign-up open through Feb. 28. Those interested can learn more through free information sessions Wednesday at the city’s Downtown Epicenter, 119 Gold SW.
The second boot camp will launch in the fall for college students at any New Mexico university. Creative Startups is partnering with the University of New Mexico’s Innovation Academy to offer the boot camps as semester-long, for-credit courses to be held at the Innovate Albuquerque Lobo Rainforest building, which is expected to open this summer at Central and Broadway.
Creative Startups received $125,000 in grants through the city’s Mayor’s Prize, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the McCune and Albuquerque Community foundations to develop and launch its boot camps, said Creative Startups co-founder Alice Loy.
“About 60 percent of New Mexico applicants to our accelerator are declined because they’re not ready for the program,” Loy said. “We’re talking about hundreds of applicants who we can help to guide forward by creating new bridges from idea to accelerator.”
Creative Startups is also launching a new speaker series that will bring celebrity-like business representatives to Albuquerque for free presentations, and occasional fee-based workshops. The first features Rand Fishkin of Moz SEO, a search engine optimization company. He will speak on Feb. 21 at the Epicenter Downtown.