Creative Startups

Creative Startups visited Meow Wolf to offer entrepreneur mentoring.

Santa Fe-based Creative Startups plans to establish Outdoor Recreation LABS at eight rural libraries in Northern New Mexico that will offer workshops for entrepreneurs who want to launch outdoor recreation businesses.

The four-week workshops, likely in April and May, are designed to get entrepreneurs fluent in startup concepts to determine whether their business idea is viable and how to get to profitability as quickly as possible, said Alice Loy, CEO and co-founder of Creative Startups.

“We are looking for entrepreneurs who are innovative and trying to solve problems for their customers,” she said.

Outdoor Recreation LABS is targeting prospective tour guides and people involved in new gear technology or new apps such as off-route hiking experiences.

Creative Startups received a $50,000 grant from the New Mexico Economic Development Department‘s Outdoor Recreation Division, which Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham established this year to help diversify New Mexico’s economy.

“Direct investment in local outdoor recreation businesses will jump-start their growth and expansion, creating jobs and supporting the industry as it further develops,” the governor said in a news release.

New Mexico is the 13th state to establish a dedicated office for the outdoors.

Creative Startups and San Juan College Enterprise Center in Farmington were the first two recipients of these outdoor recreation grants. San Juan College has established a maker space called the Big Idea Innovation Accelerator to assist entrepreneurs with outdoor product manufacturing.

The Creative Startups Outdoor Recreation LABS are also funded by New Mexico Gas Co., Public Service Company of New Mexico and the New Mexico State Library.

Loy has not selected yet which Northern New Mexico libraries will host the Outdoor Recreation LABS. Applications for these workshops likely will open in March. More information can be obtained by emailing or

The Outdoor Recreation LABS are part of Creative Startups’ “Libraries as Launchpads” program that was piloted at five libraries in 2018 and launched at 12 libraries across Southern New Mexico this year. Loy hopes to have workshops in numerous fields, including outdoor recreation, at 20 to 25 libraries in 2020.

The primary pursuit at Creative Startups is establishing business accelerators for creative entrepreneurs with accelerators now in place in Albuquerque, Denver and Baltimore as well as locations throughout the world. The accelerators provide education and networking to take creative entrepreneurs from idea to Series A funding to profitability, Loy said.

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