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New Mexico’s Space Industry Growth Opportunity

Randy Trask

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones is sheer perseverance.” — Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, CEO, President, Apple Inc.

We could use a little more perseverance here in the Land of Enchantment.

Our ability to support and grow start-ups has long been a challenge that we fail to perfect. We’ve tried a lot of things over the years, some with moderate success, but unfortunately, just when a company starts to kick off with big contracts and opportunities, then we see a headline saying they’ll move to California or in Texas or another state that can better support their growth.

It’s an all-too-familiar story for New Mexico entrepreneurship.

Why? It usually comes down to funding – who pays the bills when a startup gets funding.

New Mexico has largely lacked an investment community capable of making significant investments in growing businesses. As a result, dollars are pouring in from other states, with demands to get closer to dollars so they can keep a close eye on their business. Efforts were made to bring venture capital to New Mexico and for a time they were successful, but what they needed was a strong community of angel investors to help them in the early stages. stages of growth.

Once again, New Mexico is on the verge of growing entrepreneurship and the success of the booming space industry. We’ve quietly been the home of space innovation through work done at the Air Force Research Laboratory and now Spaceport America, but New Mexico is poised to be the leading state for space innovation. and the future of space in general. While the pandemic kept us all at home and focused on screens, AFRL was busy building its assets to sustain space and lead energy entrepreneurship as a matter of national security.

Q Station, located in the heart of Nob Hill, was just one of the projects dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs. The goal is to support space and directed energy entrepreneurs so they can help the AFRL create innovations more quickly that can help the military and commercial industry. The first cohort of companies came from all over the world because of the potential they saw working with AFRL and the opportunity they saw in New Mexico. To date, three have chosen to make their permanent home here in New Mexico.

They chose to settle here because this is where the real work in space is done, but will they stay? We hope so, but it’s up to our community to keep them. We have to make those investments; we have to support that growth and we have to make sure that the space industry actually grows and flourishes here. New Mexico Angels has already connected with these companies and started working hand in hand with them on their financial goals. By helping these early stage companies, the hope is to turn them into companies that can be leaders in space innovation and leaders in economic growth for our state.

The opportunity to make New Mexico the place of space innovation will take more than Q Station, AFRL and the New Mexico Angels, it will take a state that understands the importance of entrepreneurship to our long-term economic health. It is vital for our economy to develop our own businesses that create new jobs for our economy, and we are fortunate to be the birthplace of cutting-edge innovation.

Will this be our chance? Will this be the time when our perseverance will pay off for us?

Editor’s Note: Throughout 2022, New Mexico Angels members, investors, and start-up owners will write about economic development and start-up opportunities in the state. Angels bring together individual investors to pool their resources, providing seed and start-up capital to start-up businesses.