Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe

Founded in 1610, Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the nation with a reputation for innovation and creativity.

Santa Fe, NM, is the state’s capital and fourth-largest city by population. Founded in 1610, the city is the oldest state capital in the nation. Despite its age, however, Santa Fe’s reputation is one of innovation and creativity, making it a promising home for aspiring entrepreneurs and artists alike. Back in 2017, Livability ranked the city 26th on its list of the best cities for entrepreneurs. More recently, the city ranked 325th overall on WalletHub’s 2019 list of the best small cities to start a business, with a ranking of 163rd in the “Access to Resources” category. Many of those resources. Many of those resources are accessible thanks to the city’s location just outside of the Albuquerque metropolitan area.

Albuquerque is another entrepreneurial hotspot, ranking quite highly on a number of WalletHub rankings: 94th on the list of the best large cities to start a business, 39th on the list of best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs and 58th on the list of the best metropolitan areas for STEM professionals. Of course, it’s not just the proximity to Albuquerque that makes Santa Fe an exciting place; the city overflows with creative energy, consistently ranking among the nation’s best for artists as well as filmmakers.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Santa Fe’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The Grow Your Entrepreneurial LeadHERship networking group is an opportunity for women business owners and entrepreneurs connect with and learn from each other.

Local entrepreneurs of all kinds can participate in the Kick-Ass Entrepreneurs of Santa Fe networking group to help launch and grow their potential startups.

The aim of the meetup group is to support software development in the area by hosting monthly meetings for its members.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The Dent Conference is an annual entrepreneurship and technology networking event and conference that is often held in Santa Fe.

Located in Albuquerque, the New Mexico Technology Council hosts regular events based on technology, including an annual awards ceremony for women in tech.

NM TechWorks, an organization dedicated to supporting technology throughout the state, keeps track of the business and entrepreneurship events happening every year.

The Chamber of Commerce hosts regular business networking events, ribbon-cutting ceremonies for local businesses, an annual Women’s Leadership Luncheon and more.


Startup Competitions:

Organized by MIX Santa Fe, bizMIX is an accelerator program and business plan competition. Entrepreneurs grow their businesses and eventually compete for cash and in-kind prizes.

Students at all New Mexico universities, regardless of major, can compete in the Rainforest Student Pitch Competition for the chance to win from a pool of $5,000 in cash.

The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque can compete in the school’s Entrepreneurial Challenge, a pair of startup boot camps followed by the chance to pitch for funding.


Co-working Spaces:

Opened in February 2019, Co-Fe is a co-working space specifically designed for entrepreneurs and creatives that is located in a former elementary school that has been restored.

Located at Santa Fe’s Second Street Studios, CoLAB is a co-working space with membership plans starting at $250 per month.

Regus, which organizes and rents office space in cities throughout the country, has several offices available in the Santa Fe-Albuquerque area.

The Incubator offers a variety of co-working memberships, all of which include access to partner co-working spaces in Albuquerque and Los Alamos.



The Santa Fe Business Incubator is home to the Archimedes Fab Lab, a “fabrication laboratory” or makerspace that is part of the international Fab Lab network.

Located in Albuquerque, the FUSE Makerspace partners with Central New Mexico Community College to host classes and workshops for members.

MAKE Santa Fe is a makerspace with a wide variety of tools and equipment available to members that also offers certification courses and workshops for members.

Quelab is a makerspace and hackerspace in Albuquerque that hosts regular open house “Hacknights” to allow the public to tour the space for free.



Located in Albuquerque, The BioScience Center is an incubator that works specifically with bioscience and life-science startups throughout the state.

The Santa Fe Business Incubator runs a pair of full-fledged incubator programs and organizes a number of other support resources for small businesses in the area.

The Higher Education Center is home to the Santa Fe Small Business Development Center, which provides development services to startups and existing businesses.



Based in Albuquerque, ActivateNM is an eight-week accelerator program designed to support technology startups throughout the state.

Known as HD3, the High Desert Discovery District is an accelerator that works to commercialize technology startups and help bring them to market.

A program of the New Mexico-based accelerator Creative Startups, Santa Fe Food LABS is an intensive pre-accelerator program that works with food entrepreneurs.

Students and recent graduates of Santa Fe Community College can enroll in Studio G, the school’s accelerator program, for completely free.



Down the road in Albuquerque, Central New Mexico Community College offers a 21-hour certificate program in entrepreneurship.

The Community College offers both an academic program in entrepreneurship and an accelerator program for student startups.

The Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico offers a concentration in entrepreneurial studies.


Angel Groups/VCs:

With locations in Santa Fe and the Netherlands, Cottonwood Technology Fund provides venture capital for early-stage technology companies in the Southwest US and Northern Europe.

A group of angel investors based in Albuquerque that invests in early-stage startups throughout the state and the entire Southwestern United States.

The goal of New Mexico Community Capital is to provide funding and other support to businesses owned by Native Americans in New Mexico.

An investment firm that works with promising startups and lower middle-market companies alike.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

A business journal offering a variety of newsletters covering business news in the city and surrounding areas.

The Albuquerque Journal offers a number of newsletters, including one focusing primarily on business and one focusing on news in Santa Fe.

The New Mexico Branch of the National Association of Women Business Owners offers a newsletter that keeps subscribers updated on upcoming events.

The New Mexico Business Coalition, created to be a voice for business owners and employees throughout the state, offers email updates and newsletters for those interested.


Are you familiar with the entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Santa Fe, NM not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Oklahoma City, OK, Albuquerque, NM, El Paso, TX,

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.