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Libraries as Launchpads

Libraries as Launchpads

Fueling Economic Opportunity in the Creative Economy


The New Mexico State Library, in partnership with Creative Startups, NMSU Arrowhead Center, and regional public libraries, is launching an innovative program, designed to generate future-facing jobs through supporting startups in the creative industries. The project seeks to: (1) transform rural and tribal libraries into vibrant creative economy development hubs; (2) build capacity to reach, educate, and accelerate underserved entrepreneurs; (3) deliver best-in-class educational and technical development workshops for creatives. Through this project, libraries will become change catalysts, driving economic opportunity, wealth creation, and inclusion in their communities.

The project weaves three core activities that, in combination, will grow sustainable capacity in communities seeking to lift up creative entrepreneurs: (1) Educators Circle, (2) Creative Startups LABS, (3) Creative Tech Workshops.

Educators Circle

Educators are nominated by a community member or Head Librarian, selected based on their passion for teaching and their interest in supporting entrepreneurial activities in their communities. This can be a member of the library staff and/or community members. We will seek and accept nominations for participating “Educators” from community organizations such as higher education, libraries, high schools, and economic development offices.

Educators join a peer learning network and receive training, support, and curriculum they then apply in their community. Educators gain specific pedagogical approaches for teaching entrepreneurship, an understanding of varied learning styles and relevant teaching techniques, exercises, tools, and resources for creating highly engaged classes, and guidance in creating curriculum and syllabi for entrepreneurship classes/workshops.

Creative Startups LABS for Patrons

This “bootcamp” styled entrepreneur education program is designed for startups seeking to enter the market and gain traction.  LABS is a 4-week program including 6 course modules, case studies, peer-to-peer learning, and a celebratory final event for startups and their champions and supporters. Creative Startups faculty co-teach LABS with Educators as they learn the curriculum and become fully equipped to teach on their own. The 6 LABS Modules include:

(1)   Understanding Your Customer’s Pain

(2)   Who Are Your Customers, Exactly?

(3)   Prototype Your Painkiller!

(4)   Delighted & Pain-free Customers (Always Come Back for More)

(5)   Get Paid to Kill the Pain

(6)   Putting It All Together: A Profitable Business Model

Additionally, final 2.5 day events may include workshops that round out participants’ knowledge including Building a Cash Flow Model and Pitching for Love or Money.

Creative Tech Workshops for Patrons

Full and half-day workshops serve small business and startup owners seeking to improve their marketing, operations, and technical skills. Creative Tech Workshops include “Creating YouTube Ads,” “Photoshop & InDesign,” “Marketing in a Social World,” “Podcasting for Profit,” and “How to Etsy.” These workshops are intended to build a community’s capacity to support, promote, and scale local businesses.

Creative Tech Workshops ideally include regional youth (ages 15 to 25) who can build tech skills and deploy these through internships with local startups and small businesses and community organizations.



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