Small Businesses Can Use City Funding to Power Up Through CNM Training

When Kyērstin O’Neal graduated from CNM’s Deep Dive Coding Digital Media bootcamp, she knew exactly what came next. As a long-time science fiction and fantasy buff, she was going to use augmented reality (AR) to help clients see the world around them in a new way.

“I wanted to use this technology to help transport clients to an entirely different dimension,” she says.

As a first step, she launched her business called Adykōr Xr Studio. Next, she applied to Activate New Mexico, a CNM Ingenuity business accelerator that helps early-stage, software-enabled startups with the goal of expanding the New Mexico tech landscape.

To help fund her participation in the accelerator, she also reached out to Job Training Albuquerque, a workforce development program that helps small business owners gain necessary skills and grow their businesses so they can add jobs and bring on new employees.  JTA, which is a partnership between the City of Albuquerque and CNM with program funding provided by the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department, also allows employers to send employees through CNM trainings.

JTA covered all of Kyērstin’s fees, and through ActivateNM, she went on to get mentorship in everything from her business plan to client acquisition. She was also able to meet a host of other small businesses and established business leaders in the Albuquerque area, including John Bell, the founder of NextNow Digital.

“ActivateNM was hugely rewarding for my business, and the networking and mentorship opportunities were really powerful,” she says. “Thanks to the JTA funding, I was able to take a big step forward.”

Today, Kyērstin is working on a host of innovative products for local businesses. She helped NM United build a filter where their fans can use their phone cameras to shoot a selfie with an AR United logo superimposed on their cheek. The fans were then encouraged to upload those photos to social media.

Right now she’s helping a local architecture firm use AR to build an app where investors and the local public could point their phones at a proposed building site and be able to see what the finalized building would look like.

She’s also used AR to make the Tin Can Alley Frida Khalo mural come alive. Users can point their phones at the mural and the painting starts moving in fun and innovative ways. She’s now exploring whether she could do something similar with all of the city’s well-known murals.

“Eventually, I’d like to create an augmented reality mural tour in partnership with the City of Albuquerque,” she says. “A tour would not only bring attention to the rich artistic culture we have here in Albuquerque, but also help drive foot traffic to local businesses.”

Going forward, Kyērstin says the goal is continued growth for her business—including new staff— as well as investment in the small business community.

“I’m constantly coming across local small businesses that are offering truly world-class products and branding and I want to see this community grow,” she says.

For more information about Job Training Albuquerque and eligible trainings, please visit jobtrainingabq.org.