City eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment fund ex­pands

In­no­va­tive pro­gram gen­er­ates $20.2M to spur busi­ness projects

Albuquerque Journal - - BUSINESS - BY ELLEN MARKS JOUR­NAL STAFF RE­PORT

An in­no­va­tive city pro­gram that’s funded by “claw­back” pay­ments has gen­er­ated $20.22 mil­lion in cap­i­tal raised for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment projects, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Tues­day.

The Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ac­tion Ac­count, cre­ated in 2013, has sup­ported 20 pro­grams, in­clud­ing four busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors, and has helped more than 1,000 com­pa­nies and en­trepreneurs, said the re­port, is­sued by Mayor Richard Berry’s of­fice.

The fund was cre­ated in 2013 with $5.52 mil­lion worth of “claw­backs,” or ter­mi­na­tion pay­ments from com­pa­nies that had re­ceived city in­cen­tives to lo­cate in Al­bu­querque but shut down be­fore the terms of their agree­ments with the city were met. The City Coun­cil, which ap­proved the pro­gram pro­posed by Berry, added another $1 mil­lion last year.

“Pre­vi­ously the city lacked a clos­ing fund, and now EDAct has en­abled us to fund pro­grams that were gen­er­ally never con­sid­ered in the past, and the im­pact on our community is be­yond any­thing any of us could have imag­ined four years ago,” Berry said in a news re­lease.

For ex­am­ple, the fund launched ABQid ac­cel­er­a­tor with $1.8 mil­lion and the Cre­ative Star­tups ac­cel­er­a­tor with $250,000. One of the wildly suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tions that got its start with the Cre­ative

ac­cel­er­a­tor was Meow Wolf, the im­mer­sive art in­stal­la­tion in Santa Fe.

Busi­nesses helped by those pro­grams — and oth­ers funded by EDAct — in turn were able to raise $20.22 mil­lion from out­side Al­bu­querque to grow their op­er­a­tions lo­cally, said Deirdre Firth, the city deputy eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor.

Fund­ing goes to pro­grams in four ar­eas: mar­ket­ing, re­ten­tion/ex­pan­sion and en­trepreneur­ship, a clos­ing fund, and work­force de­vel­op­ment. Among the re­cip­i­ents:

Na­tional mar­ket­ing cam­paign: $1 mil­lion “to po­si­tion Al­bu­querque as a vi­brant cen­ter for en­trepreneur­ship.”

Al­bu­querque Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment: $300,000 for busi­ness re­ten­tion and ex­pan­sion.

TEAM Ac­cel­er­a­tor: $275,000 to help man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies de­velop vi­able prod­ucts.

Small Busi­ness Re­source Col­lab­o­ra­tive, started with $250,000. It pro­vides lo­cally owned Cen­tral Av­enue busi­nesses with mar­ket­ing and as­sis­tance in book­keep­ing and fi­nan­cial prac­tices.

“This has re­ally been an en­gag­ing process for the community in many dif­fer­ent ways,” City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Isaac Ben­ton said. “We’ve been able to sup­port a wide range of pro­grams — from teenage en­trepreneurs to folks mak­ing their first ac­tual prod­uct to take to mar­ket.”

JIM THOMP­SON/JOUR­NAL

The ABQid busi­ness ac­cel­er­a­tor in Down­town Al­bu­querque is one of sev­eral groups to ben­e­fit from a city eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment fund.

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