People standing at City Alive meeting

The 5 Most Common Questions, Answered

Thema Business, Connecting People and Places, Entrepreneurship

The 5 Most Common Questions, Answered

Three years in and there are five recurring questions that tend to come up. This Q&A answers five of the most common questions that come our way about City Alive:  

1) What is it for?

City Alive’s North Star is homegrown job creation. Our goal is to add 10,000 net new jobs by the year 2025. These 10,000 jobs are defined as living-wage jobs that create opportunities for low income people and people of color to achieve economic self-sufficiency and build wealth. We are measuring the results of our efforts through the following outcomes: closing racial wealth gaps, increasing the percentage of people earning a living a wage and increasing the number of jobs created that provide a living wage.

2) How are we getting there?

It’s complicated, but worthwhile. Bear with us… Our planning year in 2015 (which collected input from over 100 leaders across Albuquerque) established five strategy areas that focus on four types of entrepreneurs (Main Street, Microenterprise, Second Stage and Innovation Led). This is fundamentally about bringing stakeholders together from government, business and educational institutions to change how they work together to make it easier for people to start and grow a business. We call this collective impact; together we are creating innovative approaches to systems change, including public sector and capital innovation.


Download the City Alive Strategies Matrix

Talent and Skill Development

Theory of change: If we provide population-specific training or educational opportunities, more people will have the skills and resources needed to start a business or advance in/into a high wage job. This covers: both traditional and nontraditional educational opportunities.

Capital Availability

Theory of change: If we attract more dollars and improve the availability of funds for start-up capital for entrepreneurs, then more of them will have the funding they need to launch/expand their business. This means: growing traditional lending opportunities, increasing available capital & developing new, innovative models that tackle deeply entrenched and complex barriers.

Entrepreneurship and Inclusion Development

Theory of change: If we build on inherent entrepreneurial assets, create a culture of entrepreneurial energy using best practices and use alternative means that enable historically marginalized people, families and communities to participate in the entrepreneurial process, then more people will see becoming an entrepreneur as a viable option.

Community Development

Theory of change: If we make Downtown an attractive place (via improved Wi-Fi, bus rapid transit, business supports, critical mass of other businesses, etc.) then more businesses will locate Downtown.

Business Development

Theory of change: If we facilitate/support technology commercialization (for example, licensing agreements setting up joint ventures and partnerships, spin-out, etc.) then there will be more start-up companies. This means: bringing resources out from “behind the fence” and putting the community in more contact with lab & business development resources.


Now in our Implementation years, our Leadership Partners are putting pilot projects into motion. Many of these pilot projects rely on community partnerships and focus on collective impact. • Co-Op Capital • Main Street Navigator Program  • Technology Navigator Program  • Molino Project


Organizations participating in City Alive are also making what we call aligned contributions, which are a lot like how they sound: programs or efforts that are run separately from, but in alignment with, City Alive’s strategies and goals. Some of those aligned contributions include: • Innovate ABQ • CNM and UNM’s 2+1+2 program • UNM’s innovationAcademy • The Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce’s HUBDO legislation efforts • The Emprendedores program at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce • The Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship at the Albuquerque Community Foundation

3) Who is involved and why?

When we started with the Planning Year we did a scan of the community to identify organizations that had direct impacts on the entrepreneurial ecosystem and homegrown job creation by way of programs, policies, resources, etc. These included over 100 representatives from a diverse range of government, community organizations, educational institutions, philanthropy, business and nonprofits. Our work has also focused on how we remove barriers for people of color, low-income adults, single parents, veterans and immigrants so they can equally access the economic mobility entrepreneurship can provide. As we went into our Implementation Years, the I-3 Table (which was comprised of chairs of each of our planning year tables) became the Leadership Partners, and additional individuals who were working directly in this space were recommended to join and voted on. Now we have eight Action Teams that focus on implementing our strategy areas and pilot projects. These action teams have expanded as we’ve learned about what it takes to contribute to our goals. Through our learning and growth, we’ve found that job creation and increasing income and wealth also focus on these areas:

4) What has City Alive done so far?

City Alive has established our four pilot projects that are currently active in the community, set up a common data collection practice and published results here, sent teams from Albuquerque to learn in cities across the United States and we have successfully supported fundraising efforts through Living Cities via their City Accelerator program and their Racial Equity Now Initiative, engaging in systems-level change. We have also supported fundraising efforts on the Innovate ABQ site, which just opened it’s first building in August. We have a vibrant and active group of leaders coming together to continually listen, learn, adapt and get back. We are supporting the development an ecosystem that lifts up homegrown businesses, supporting them as they start up and sustain their operations. We are also increasing knowledge sharing across organizations and institutions in service to our goals. The leadership table is helping us invest our resources and build our network to achieve meaningful results for people in our community. We constantly ask what works, what doesn’t work and why.

5) What has been funded? What was the funding used for?

We have developed a funding timeline  that details direct and indirect funding resources received thus far. For the most part, City Alive has received grants and support for planning and collective impact work to prepare the ground for program-related support in the future.

Review our funding map!

This process is evolving and is always open to change.  Our efforts and practices will continue to change as well evolve. We continue to look for new ways to address our focus areas and contribute to 10,000 homegrown jobs, and income and racial equity.