City Application Results in First-Ever Pilot Program
Albuquerque- Several months ago Mayor Richard J. Berry started a program called, "Business Deep Dives" which is a format that provides for thoughtful, in-person conversations between the Mayor and local small business leaders and entrepreneurs. These local small businesses and microenterprise owners continue to help identify actions, based on their own knowledge and experiences, which can improve the overall climate in the city to help form, strengthen and grow microenterprise and small business locally. Attendees have spanned from Business owners who have a successful business, are just starting out, or have closed their business. After the publicity and exposure garnered through the City Accelerator grant submission, Living Cities (an organization of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions working together to re-engineer America’s cities) reached out to the City of Albuquerque to back these efforts, outside of the Accelerator program.
Brian Reilly, who directs Living Cities’ signature program, The Integration Initiative, which added Albuquerque and four other US cities to its cohort in April of this year, said, “What’s compelling about this program is how Albuquerque and Mayor Berry are applying particular business practices to the workings of city government that will identify and remove real-world barriers and accelerate local business growth. It’s an example of Albuquerque’s leading edge experimentation and innovation and Living Cities wants to help accelerate it. Albuquerque and Mayor Berry are on the right track and we’re bolstering our resources to fully support this effort.”
"We're thrilled that our program has the potential to be a nationally-embraced practice to enable other cities to learn how to mobilize local government to solve problems by starting with the end customer’s perspectives. We want to utilize the experience and knowledge of local business owners to improve the climate for commerce and success in our city, and to shape policy and practices," said Mayor Berry. “These meetings will help us identify ways to enhance, foster, and support small business formation and growth in Albuquerque, it means a lot that our genuine efforts will prosper from the support of Living Cities.”
The series of meetings, several of which have already occurred, give small business entrepreneurs the opportunity to speak with the Mayor about the challenges, roadblocks, and obstacles they faced in starting a business in Albuquerque, and will also discuss what resources helped them along the way. The goal is to identify common problems areas and as well as potential opportunities, the actions to address these areas will be part of Albuquerque’s Living Cities Integration Initiative.
Later this month (September) representatives from Living Cities are scheduled to visit Albuquerque to design and test some of these new approaches and bring them to the other eight cities in the Integration Initiative at a scheduled gathering in October in Washington, DC.
Living Cities is an innovative collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, they have selected Mayor Richard Berry’s office to head up a team of local leaders and institutions seeking to improve economic mobility for residents, facilitate job creation, advance education and generally improve and strengthen the local economy with a focus on downtown revitalization, as part of their signature national program—The Integration Initiative. Albuquerque is one of nine US cities nationwide chosen as part of this network for innovation.