CNM Ingenuity Accelerator Helps Small Businesses Grow Despite Pandemic

ActivateNM is about to start its fifth cohort and will help businesses find ways to flourish in a quickly-changing economy

Activate New Mexico, a CNM Ingenuity accelerator that works with early-stage, software-enabled startups in New Mexico, immediately pivoted when COVID-19 hit. They quickly built seminars to help existing start-ups weather the changes and put out a list of funding resources to keep businesses afloat.

Now, ActivateNM is taking steps to ensure the state’s next batch of startups can grow during these difficult times. They’re about to start their fifth accelerator cohort and will be focusing on tech businesses that have the potential to thrive despite the setbacks created by the pandemic.

“Now is actually a really exciting time to run a startup in New Mexico because this state has always been collaborative and people really care about where they live,” says Dan Heron, the Senior Program Manager with ActivateNM. “Those two things are not only going to help the state come up with some clever ideas but also attract new businesses that would rather be based here instead of a traditional tech hub.”

Unlike other accelerators, ActivateNM does not require equity in the business but instead just charges a small fee. Applications for Cohort 5 are due late August and the 10-week accelerator starts in September. Applicants for the accelerator are usually pre-launch and/or pre-revenue, with little to no outside funding, but are looking to raise outside capital. Heron says many of the previous cohort businesses worked in software development, but any company that leverages software based technology is welcome to apply.

Previous cohorts were usually based in the Albuquerque metro area since the program took place in person. But Heron says Cohort 5 is open to any business in New Mexico since the program has pivoted to run completely online with weekly virtual meetings.

Best consideration is often give to a startup team that’s ready to grow quickly, has a disruptive idea that solves an important problem in a unique way in a potentially large market, has a working product or prototype that has been tested outside with potential customers, and comes to the cohort with an understanding of their potential market.

During the accelerator, mentors and staff will provide all the needed building blocks for growth including a Lean Startup crash course as well as information about everything from customer development to co-founder agreements and financial modeling. The accelerator is run by ActivateNM staff, but topics will also be taught by local experts who’ve worked at companies including Microsoft and Apple. Heron says he’s excited to start working with Cohort 5 and other cohorts down the road. While COVID has disrupted everything, it’s also brought innovators together, especially here in New Mexico.

“Unlike some other tech spots where it’s ultra competitive, New Mexico is a place where if you’re driven and want to create something for yourself and your community, there are lots of people who will back you up,” he says.

Find out more or apply to ActivateNM.

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