“We are a border state, we have a port of entry, we have two major intersecting freeways and yet, international business is scarce … we have a great opportunity here.” Adelle Lees, Director, Global Ties ABQ
Global Ties ABQ, previously known as the Albuquerque Council for International Visitors, is dedicated to building bridges between New Mexicans and emerging leaders from around the world. Their international exchange programs, local educational programs, and international community-building activities have brought more than 5,000 international visitors to Albuquerque over the past 30 years.
Next summer, with the help of the Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship, a prize
powered by the Albuquerque Community Foundation and funded through a partnership between the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Community Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Global Ties ABQ will do
something a little different. The nonprofit will implement a new pilot program focused not on receiving visitors from abroad, but rather on preparing Albuquerque’s own to break through and succeed in the international marketplace.
Their Mayor’s Prize winning Global Innovation Program is designed to serve already established local small businesses. The program will connect participating small business owners with experts who can impart the essential international business 101 knowledge while also developing the “soft skills” critical to understanding cultural climates, global communication, and business networking abroad. Adelle Lees, Director of Global Ties ABQ said, “International business is not just about exporting, finance, and international marketing. It is about understanding economic and cultural climates abroad and developing the literacy to navigate global systems.” Their wrap around support program will focus primarily on Latin America, likely leveraging the New Mexico Trade and Higher Education Center of Mexico City, which was established last year through an unprecedented partnership between the City of Albuquerque, UNM, and the state of New Mexico.
The Global Innovation Program will start small. They estimate that ten finalists will be selected to participate in the first cohort. Over the course of the eight-month program, participants will develop concrete international
business plans and basic global commerce skills. Upon completion, viable business plans will be eligible for assistance to set up a trade mission abroad at no charge.