With entrepreneurial innovation bursting forth in Albuquerque and other New Mexico cities, some movers and shakers in the local startup community are reaching out to women to get them more involved.

The state’s first “Startup Weekend” specifically for women will take place Oct. 24-26 at the FatPipe ABQ incubator Downtown, said Lisa Adkins, FatPipe ABQ director and chair of the New Mexico Technology Council, which helps organize Startup Weekends around the state.

Startup Weekends offer three-day boot camps for aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch ideas about new products or services to other innovators and enthusiasts. Participants then form teams during the weekend to build strategies for new companies around the best ideas, with mentoring and assistance from veteran entrepreneurs, investors and business professionals.

Many women have participated in previous weekend events, but organizers want to encourage more of them to take the entrepreneurial leap.

“Women make great CEOs, but there aren’t enough of them starting businesses,” Adkins said. “We want to create a safe environment for them to all come out and pitch some great ideas. It’s an opportunity for women who haven’t necessarily thought about doing it to take the next step with mentoring from professionals throughout the weekend.”

The Technology Council began organizing the weekend boot camps last year, based on the Startup Weekend model that began in 2008 in Seattle, Wash., and has since spread to cities throughout the country. To date, about 250 people have participated in six Startup Weekends in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Farmington and Las Cruces.

About a dozen new companies have formed in those cities based on ideas that took shape in the weekend events, said Tech Council community manager Eric Renz-Whitmore.

“It’s a real success if we can kick-start some new companies, but in general, it’s a very valuable educational experience for everyone,” Renz-Whitmore said. “It’s about helping people begin their entrepreneurial journey, validate their ideas and find people they can work with.”

Two other Startup Weekends are also planned, including one at the Santa Fe Incubator this weekend, Sept. 19-21, and another in Las Cruces Oct. 24-26.

“We want all women with an interest to participate at FatPipe ABQ,” Adkins said. “Bring a friend, spread the word and learn what it’s all about.”

 

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