A key focus of the Office of Economic Development is to strengthen entrepreneurship and industry cluster development. Our approach focuses on catalyzing and aligning workforce development, business accelerators & incubators, and funding sources.  Ultimately, we expect our economy will be more diversified than today, and the current core industries will be stronger.

Strength through Diversification:  Root and Grow Burgeoning Clusters, so People Have More Job and Career Advancement Choices, and the Economy is More Resilient to External Effects like Recession.  

  • At least 60% (TBD) of GRT/GDP is from industries other than tourism, traditional arts, film, government, and real estate. Grow the overall economy so that current core industries do not shrink.
  • Current 3 burgeoning cluster targets:
    • Tech & Advanced Manufacturing, including AgTech. Currently, 40+ companies.
    • Creative/Experience - MeowWolf is the primary catalyst.
    • Food Sector – The greatest opportunity for regional and statewide systemic collaboration.
  • Film & Emerging Media – 2x or 3x Growth by 12/2022. We partner with and rely on Film Office to drive this.
  • Healthcare – Continue to grow.  Lots of workforce development opportunities.
  • The Arts – Stabilize the traditional fine and folk art sector.
  • Tourism & Hospitality – Continue to support the Tourism Department's growth strategies.  
  • Outdoor Recreation 

We are working on convening all of these industry clusters to better understand the problems which need to be solved and create an ecosystem that would support innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainable growth.

Click here to learn more about how and why Industry Clusters are made.


Food Industries Cluster
Outdoor Recreation Cluster
Science/Tech Industry Cluster Programs


Strategies and Goals for our Industry Cluster Plan

More Startups: Increase Entrepreneurship & Strengthen Entrepreneurial “Ecosystems”

  • Aggregate increase of 10% more startups (companies less than 5 years old) by 2021, contributing 500-1,000 new jobs
  • Develop a model entrepreneurial ecosystem, including a) the Kauffman food sector project and b) strengthening and coordinating the existing startup ecosystem.

Grow & Retain: Anchor Export Companies & Help Very Small Local Businesses Grow

  • 300 Very Small Local Businesses (20 or fewer employees, 2+ yrs operation). Hire at Least 1 Person by 12/21.  
  • See prior goals regarding clusters, which are primarily oriented toward Export businesses.

Recruit Great Companies: Attract New Companies that Advance Clusters and Provide Solid ROI for Any Incentives

  • One new company of 10+ employees by 2020
  • One new company of 25+ employees by 2021
  • Three new companies averaging 50+ employees by 2022

Collaboration:  Work Together Internally and with other Cities, Counties, Pueblos, and States on Specific Projects.

  • At least two projects and two policies are actively pursued between Santa Fe and other jurisdictions.
  • Work with the Mayor, City Manager, and Stakeholder Directors on a multi-year, professionally managed organizational design and development project to make our government more adaptive, responsive, transparent, fast, and collaborative with residents and organizations.
  • Actively invest in and otherwise support work to break down business and cultural siloes and increase social capital.  We need to determine metrics and find data sources to track.

Self-Sufficiency:  New initiatives become self-sustaining within three years unless clear rationale for longer-term or indefinite financial support from the city.


Food Industries Cluster

2020 Reimagining the Food Economy

The tighter the link between a community’s food and agricultural entrepreneurs and their support systems, the more economically vibrant that community will be. When entrepreneurs are more successful, everyone benefits — we open doors to an increased local food supply that can be channeled, aggregated, and distributed through a range of markets, including institutional and wholesale buyers interested in sourcing more food locally for the health benefits of the people they serve.

In an effort to connect New Mexico’s food and agriculture entrepreneurs with the information and resources they need to succeed, ESHIP Communities Rio Grande hosted “Reimagining the New Mexico Food Economy” in partnership with the New Mexico Economic Development Department, the City of Santa Fe, and Santa Fe County in December 2020. This event provided an opportunity for food and agricultural entrepreneurs and the numerous organizations that support them to: 

  • share perspectives and learn about programs and key policy initiatives that are helping grow our food economy,
  • gain access to vital community resources, and
  • build the resiliency of our regional food system as we head further into 2021 and beyond!

“Reimagining the New Mexico Food Economy” was designed to strengthen the food and agriculture entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Mexico, emphasizing the regional food system and value chain as critical economic drivers for the state. Participants were able to connect with resource providers for food and agriculture sector entrepreneurs, learn about current legislative initiatives poised for positive impact on food access and local economic development, and hear stories of people using local resources to build resilience in our food system.

2019 Santa Fe Food Summit: Sparking Entrepreneurship in the Food Industry

The 2019 Santa Fe Food Summit: Sparking Entrepreneurship in the Food Industry was held on October 24, 2019, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.  Nearly 100 people attended.  The purpose of the event was to bring together those in the food industry in order to network, share news and information, and discuss opportunities and challenges.  For more information.

Food Summit Resource Information

Below are links to pertinent reference information from the Food Summit:

Attendee List (PDF)

PDF Copy of Agenda

Food Summit Presentation Deck (downloadable PDF)

PDF List of Speakers and Panelist Bios

Overview of Breakout Sessions with Presenter Bios

Link to YouTube Video Food Summit Taping

Link to Event Photos, courtesy of Seth Roffman, Editor-in-Chief, Green Fire Times

Link to Albuquerque Journal Article, “Working to Make Santa Fe a ‘Food Hub’“


Creative Startups and City of Santa Fe Food Accelerator Program

LABS Pre-Accelerator for Northern New Mexico Food Entrepreneurs 

Are you a passionate and determined founder of a startup that is just getting revved up? Creative Startups LABS may be right for you! Entrepreneurs building local food startups tackling challenges (and opportunities!) such as climate change, food waste, localizing food systems, and building healthier communities are encouraged to apply. 

Creative Startups LABS Pre-Accelerator for Food Entrepreneurs is designed to move entrepreneurs from early concept, past prototyping, and into the market quickly. During the intensive four-week program, you will focus on identifying a market entry strategy, pursuing early customers, and creating a minimum viable product.

Update report for May 2020



The AgriGate of Santa Fe County 

The AgriGate is an online platform that connects growers and buyers to build a more resilient local food Community. 

Resilience in New Mexico Agriculture   

A study was done by a statewide agriculture task force. Includes recommendations and reforms to strengthen supply chains, land and water use, the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and economic viability.

The Power of Public Procurement 

This report attempts to identify the realities of farm-to-institution challenges and offers recommendations
for their eventual removal. A mutually beneficial goal is that a feasible market can be cultivated and expanded that enables local and state commercial exchanges between pubic institutions and vegetable and fruit growers.


Outdoor Industry

Thank you to the stakeholders who were able to join us to ideate on growing Santa Fe's outdoor recreation economy. Here is the material from the session.

Presentation for the day

Santa Fe County outdoor economy presentation

Database of outdoor industry businesses and contacts


The Science/Tech Industry Cluster is one of our burgeoning areas for explosive growth over the next five years. As we dig into our plan, the following guiding principles will keep us on track:

-  Need:  Understand the top five challenges which are impeding growth in each sector.
-  Challenge: Less than 5% of Santa Fe businesses gross $20MM+ revenues/year. How do we help 50% more reach that goal
-  Goal: Work towards diversifying our industry clusters and create a path to growth for our economic-based businesses
-  Solution(s): Convene Industry clusters to brainstorm ways to resolve challenges for growth, likely on a semi-annual basis.
-  Duration: May 2019 – ongoing
-  Impact & KPIs: 80% of industry target companies in attendance, 30% of industry target companies engaged with assigned ecosystem partners, etc.
-  Partners: Target Industries, Industry support partners, Entrepreneur Network, Local task forces, and City and State resource partners.

Click here for a list of the companies in our Science/Tech Ecosystem.

2019 Science/Tech Industry Convening Resource Info & Panel Bios

Thank you for attending our recent Tech Convening. With over 80 in attendance, we were able to uncover some challenges we need to overcome and opportunities we can explore. Below are links to pertinent information that you want to use to support some of your efforts to grow:

Attendee List (PDF)
PDF copy of full convening presentations
YouTube video link to full convening taping
PDF copy of speaker/panelist bios
Pre-convening survey responses with verbatim
Entrepreneur Resource List to free consultants, funding, and organizations (regularly updated)

New Mexico Catalyst Fund (Seed & Early Stage Investment)

The Catalyst Fund is a $20 million fund of funds created to increase seed and early-stage investment in New Mexico. As a fund-of-funds, the Catalyst Fund will invest in existing and emerging portfolio funds. These portfolio funds in turn will raise a matching $20 million in private equity, making $40 million available for investment in local startups. The Catalyst Fund is expected to support more than 50 companies in New Mexico and will focus on technology startups.

Companies Seeking Investment:
Businesses seeking investment should contact the portfolio funds listed below directly.

However, prior to pursuing investment, companies should review the investment-ready checklist and be ready to discuss these topics with investors. NMEDD’s Regional Representatives are able to connect you to resources to strengthen any areas on the list. Other funding and business development resources can be found in NMEDD’s Business Resource Center, which features a toolkit and an extensive directory to connect you to the programs, incentives, and services available to help build businesses here in New Mexico.

Funds Seeking Investment:
Funds interested in receiving catalyst monies should contact Sun Mountain Capital:  CatalystNM@sunmountaincapital.com.

Funds Receiving Catalyst Investment:

  • Arrowhead Innovation Fundis focused on seed and early-stage investments to commercialize promising technologies developed by affiliates of New Mexico State University and participants of programs at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center.
  • Cottonwood Technology Fundis focused on seed and early-stage investments in fields such as bioscience, new energy, nanotechnology, information technologies, cleantech, and aerospace.
  • Tramway Venture Partners is focused on seed and early-stage investments in bioscience and biotechnology.
  • The ABQidFund invests in startups that have successfully completed the ABQid Accelerator. The ABQid fund supports a variety of startups within a theme approach. The first theme, Health and Wellness, launched in 2017 to invest in NM-based startups building a healthier future, and other themes are in planning for launching in 2018 and 2019. For more information, contact T.J. Cook at tj@abqid.com.
  • NMA Ventures funds early-stage, high-technology companies based in New Mexico. Ideal investment companies have a strong team, high-growth market opportunity, a portfolio of intellectual property, and a clear path to market.
  • BlueStone Venture Partners is a new venture capital firm focused on life science technology opportunities in the Southwest. BlueStone is focused on early-stage opportunities and believes that New Mexico has a significant amount of investment opportunity in this sector and stage of investment. BlueStone has offices in New Mexico and Arizona.

Bookmark this page and check back here regularly for updates on convenings, resources, and city/state ordinances that affect this industry sector.