Three women from WESST

A Piece of the Pie

City Alive Aligned Contributions, Business, Connecting People and Places, Entrepreneurship

A Piece of the Pie

WESST’s vision for the creative economy

“When you think of the cultures, the art, and the craft that we have in this state… the fact that we are not shouting it from the rooftops is astounding.” Agnes Noonan, President, WESST.

The creative economy in New Mexico goes back centuries, and the folks at WESST will be some of the first to tell you that it has huge economic potential today. However, potential is not quite enough to help New Mexicans bring home “the bacon”. And that is where Creative PIE, the program that landed WESST the Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship, comes in.

Creative PIE is a pilot project that will launch in January 2016 with support from the Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship powered by the Albuquerque Community Foundation and funded through a partnership with the City of Albuquerque and the

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Creative PIE will provide creative entrepreneurs with the wrap around support and tools they need to build sustainable, growth-ready businesses.

WESST has been working with creative entrepreneurs for over 25 years and that experience has helped them design a program so that no matter where a creative is in the business development process there are support services, tools, and training to assist them to not only make a living with their art form, but to also grow their business and create high-quality, economic base jobs while they’re at it.

WESST is not operating on a hunch that the creative economy is a great opportunity for the state; they’re looking at the data. The University of New Mexico’s 2014 BBER report on the creative economy of New Mexico has been pivotal to their vision for the growth of our state’s creative economy. BBER reports that 1 in every 18 jobs in New Mexico is in the creative industry. Agnes Noonan, President of WESST, said she anticipates this program will be important to Albuquerque’s prosperity, both culturally as well as in terms of jobs. She said, “These are valuable assets; it makes economic sense that we grow them.”

Creative PIE will provide low-cost workshops and training to plug creatives into an ecosystem of support that includes financial literacy and business development training as well as marketing support and access to a comprehensive resource network. In addition, WESST has developed relationships with organizations like Etsy to tap national markets and bring those dollars (aka “the bacon”) back home to this beautiful state of ours.


COMMONALITIES with the Albuquerque Integration Initiative: Focus on job creation, community prosperity, workforce development

OPPORTUNITY: New business creation, growth of Albuquerque’s creative capital, and an increasingly diversified economy


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