Building Creative Businesses That Succeed

City Alive Business, Entrepreneurship, Racial Equity, Talent and Skill Development

The Right Conditions for Creative Businesses to Succeed?


The Creative Startups accelerator has served 41 creative businesses, which have collectively created over 144 new jobs, made $7.8 million in revenue and raised $6.5 million in investment capital. This year they plan to accelerate 80 more startups.

Last month we brought you a story about Etkie, an Albuquerque business that grew its revenue from $35,000 to $645,000 in three years and created jobs for Navajo artisans, 90% of whom had no previous income. And the company is doing more than creating jobs where jobs can be scarce. Etkie is in the process of transitioning into a cooperative to open up ownership opportunities in the community.

Etkie is an example of the kind of business City Alive hopes to support—it creates living wage jobs in a community where there is a 50% unemployment rate and where many of those employed do not make a living wage—so we did a little digging to understand the conditions that helped Etkie to succeed. There are the internal factors, like the beauty and craftsmanship of their jewelry, the people, the values and a sound business model…but there are also external factors, and that’s where efforts like those we support come in.

Getting where Etkie is going takes capital, mentors and peers. Sydney Alfonso, Founder and CEO of Etkie recognized two especially important supports she received from New Mexico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: access to capital and business development resources. “I’ve been given so much by the local New Mexico community,” she said, “particularly Creative Startups and the Los Alamos Venture Acceleration Fund. We have so many people rooting for us and that homegrown support is what gets us through the tough times and has opened so many doors.”

Creative Startups is a global startup accelerator headquartered in New Mexico that educates and invests in creative entrepreneurs, startups and growth companies in the US, Europe and Asia. This local accelerator has had a huge impact on the creative economy, both in Albuquerque and across the globe. In their 2016 Impact Report they cite outcomes like 144 new jobs created, 41 startups served, $7.8 million in new revenues and $6.5 million in investment capital raised.

Etkie was part of Creative Startup’s first accelerator cohort, alongside the likes of Meow Wolf and Mezel Mods. Regarding her participation in the accelerator program Sydney said, “The most valuable part of Creative Startups is the network. It’s like a customized group of people who know how to specifically help you. And, there’s a lot of support for the creative side of the business.”

Creative Startups, which is now licensed and hosted in three U.S. locations and three international locations, is on track to accelerate 80 startups by the end of 2017. The application for their eight-week program in the fall closes on July 9th. If you know of a creative business looking to start up or scale up, this is an incredible opportunity to connect with a highly impactful support organization and over 90 mentors specializing in creative businesses across the globe.

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