FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2018
Mary Ann Hatchitt
(Santa Fe, NM) -- The New Mexico State Library, (NMSL), Creative Startups, a growing international business accelerator based in Santa Fe, Fab Lab Hub, a technology product prototyping provider, and the newly-formed New Mexico State Library Foundation have joined together in an innovative partnership to utilize public libraries as economic development centers for entrepreneurial and business training. Libraries as Launchpads will fast track potential entrepreneurs from idea and concept to action and business formation. The program kicks-off on February 15 at five pilot libraries: Zuni, South Albuquerque, Santa Fe’s Southside branch, Raton and Las Cruces.
Focused on underserved and rural populations throughout New Mexico, Libraries as Launchpads represents a natural progression from the State Library’s nationally-acclaimed NM MakerState Initiative, which brought makerspace technologies to local libraries for STEM learning. Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Michael Delello said, “It is now time to utilize libraries as economic development centers, and we are thrilled to partner with Creative Startups and Fab Lab Santa Fe in this effort.”
Consisting of a four-week intensive LABS pre-accelerator program designed by Creative Startups for entrepreneurs just getting off the ground, Libraries as Launchpads will help budding entrepreneurs go from idea to action with their businesses. Creative Startups CEO Alice Loy, said, “Working with public libraries throughout the state is ideal because we can reach creative entrepreneurs in communities from Raton to Las Cruces; and all New Mexico communities have creative entrepreneurs who need access to highly effective entrepreneurship training workshops and resources.”
The third partner in this venture is Fab Lab Hub Santa Fe, which offers five leading-edge technologies that help entrepreneurs design and test their product concepts. “Creating functional prototypes is an important part of Fab Lab Hub’s work,” says Fab Lab Hub founder Sarah Boisvert. “We’re thrilled to bring concepts to life for the creative participants in the Libraries as Launchpads entrepreneurship program. After all, the magic starts when you can hold an idea in your hands.”
Libraries as Launchpads also represents the inauguration of the newly-formed New Mexico State Library Foundation (NMSLF), which is funding the project along with UNM EPSCoR, New Mexico Gas, NMSU Arrowhead Center, and private donors. Elizabeth Martinez, Foundation President said, “Modeled on the New Mexico Museum Foundation, the establishment of NMSLF makes funding and facilitating innovative NMSL projects much easier and as we look to the future of this pilot program, we welcome private support.” Donations can be made on the Foundation’s website: http://www.statelibrarynmfoundation.org/
Creative entrepreneurs interested in participating in LABS can contact the pilot libraries or visit http://hitchhiker.nmstatelibrary.org/libraries-as-launchpads/ and http://creativestartups.org/libraries-launchpads to learn more and to complete an application.
Going forward, the partnership plans to offer Libraries as Launchpads at 20 libraries in 2019 and is laying the groundwork for the expansion with this pilot. The team is working with libraries to identify regional entrepreneurship educators, community partners, and maker spaces that can support the project.
Ryanne Cooper, Assistant State Librarian, explains, “Creating sustainable expertise and collections resources in libraries statewide to assist entrepreneurs will have direct positive economic results across New Mexico.”
Funded in part by the newly-formed New Mexico State Library Foundation.
About the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs: http://www.newmexicoculture.org/ Created in 1978 by the New Mexico Legislature, the Department of Cultural Affairs represents New Mexico’s dedication to preserving and celebrating the cultural integrity and diversity of our state. The Department oversees a broad range of New Mexico’s arts and cultural heritage agencies which include 15 divisions representing a variety of programs and services. Among its primary functions is the management of the largest state sponsored museum system in the country. New Mexico’s historic sites and state-run museums are located across the state and include: New Mexico Historic Sites, Statewide; New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe; Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe; New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo; New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque; New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, Las Cruces; and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque. The Department also oversees the New Mexico State Library, Historic Preservation Division, New Mexico Arts, and the Office of Archaeological Studies. Events, news releases and images about activities in divisions of the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at media.newmexicoculture.org.
Creative Startups was founded in New Mexico in 2007 and today their renowned startup accelerator serves entrepreneurs around the world. The Creative Startups Accelerator program has graduated 65 startups, LABS have served 32 startups. Creative Startups maintains a strong presence in New Mexico, providing support New Mexican entrepreneurs through the Zuni Pueblo Artwalk, workshops, and the accelerator. (http://www.creativestartups.org)
Fab Lab Hub is a part of the international digital FABrication LABoratory network based at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms [CBA] in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded by CBA Director Neil Gershenfeld, Ph.D., Fab Labs democratize access to the five basic tools of digital fabrication, including 3-D printing, laser cutting & marking, CNC machining, vinyl cutting, and microelectronics assembly, all tied together with computer aided design (CAD).
Focus at each of the more than 1,000 Fab Labs worldwide is determined by the individual founding organization. Fab Lab Hub, LLC, a New Mexico company whose mission is to foster New Collar Job Training and Entrepreneurship, operates Fab Lab Santa Fe at SFCC and its sister, Archimedes Fab Lab, at the Santa Fe Business Incubator. Fab Lab Santa Fe in the Trades and Advanced Technology Center is bringing a Digital Badging program to SFCC for technical skills needed in smart manufacturing. Digital Badges are portable credentials that verify attaining expertise in a specific area of study.
New Mexico State Library Foundation funds New Mexico State Library’s innovative programming, empowering libraries as community resource centers that enhance the economic, social and educational well-being of all New Mexicans.