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Model Vistage member, Charles Rath CEO of RS21, shares positives of the Albuquerque business economy. No surprise, they include his Vistage group.

The past year has been full of twists and turns. Despite the uncertainties, I’ve seen a level of resilience that has exemplified New Mexico’s legacy of innovation and reminded me of the state’s unique advantages.

With its low cost of living, high quality of life, and supportive community, New Mexico is rich with resources that can help people create successful organizations.

In my own experience starting a company in Albuquerque, I’ve benefited from invaluable support from the business community and amazing local talent. Thanks to these networks and economic development programs, we’ve grown from one employee to 80 and one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the nation.

Recently, New Mexico’s industry growth has seen major gains, with companies in technology, aerospace and defense, entertainment and energy choosing to locate here.

In the past year alone: New Mexico has become the birthplace for commercial space travel, with a suborbit launch from Spaceport America; Netflix announced a studio expansion to double its Albuquerque production hub; and local technology companies demonstrated 80% growth over the past five years to reach a combined total of $1.017 billion in revenue and nearly 5,000 employees, according to the New Mexico Technology Flying 40 program.

For entrepreneurs looking for the best way to get started on creating world-class companies in New Mexico, here are resources I’ve found that can help.

  1. JTIP and LEDA tax breaks: The Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) and Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) are administered by the state’s Economic Development Department. JTIP provides tax breaks to businesses that create new jobs in New Mexico, while LEDA offers tax breaks for businesses that expand operations in New Mexico.
  2. Exposure from Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance (AREA, formerly AED): AREA promotes economic growth in the city of Albuquerque by connecting businesses with funding and other resources, providing exposure to local and national media outlets, and offering the tools and connections entrepreneurs need to get started.
  3. Innovative job training programs: The Department of Workforce Solutions, local colleges and universities and industry-specific bootcamps are helping people earn degrees and program certificates to reskill and upskill. For companies to thrive, we need a robust pipeline of talent coming from our own state, and I’ve been blown away by people’s skills in everything from coding, design, analytics and data science.
  4. Access to a strong entrepreneurial community: Our business community is collaborative, insightful, supportive and one of the state’s most valuable resources. I was fortunate to be introduced to leaders in the community early through Sandia’s Entrepreneurial Separation to Transfer Technology program, which gives entrepreneurs a leave of absence to turn ideas into realities. These early connections helped me get going, and I’ve been able to quickly expand my network through peer advisory groups, like Vistage New Mexico, that connect CEOs, key executives and business owners.
  5. Scientific and engineering talent: It’s no secret that New Mexico boasts a large concentration of Ph.D. scientists. The state’s universities, national labs and other research facilities attract some of the best and brightest, which is especially significant for entrepreneurs seeking to build highly skilled teams.

While New Mexico has challenges — including the need to reinvigorate Downtown Albuquerque, continuing to improve tax conditions for startups and attracting more growth capital — we should also recognize the state’s advantages and continue to invest and actively engage in this burgeoning community.

This is a place where entrepreneurs can thrive. With a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and tremendous opportunity, we can continue to create world-class companies in New Mexico.

I am beyond grateful for the people, support and access to resources that have been integral to my journey, and I am always available to pay it forward. I am eager to see what the next year brings.

By Charles Rath, president and CEO of RS21

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