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About

Vision & Story

Forming a successful social entrepreneurial venture requires a community of involved stakeholders who listen, care, guide, challenge, and engage with founders and their teams. Santa Fe Innovates supports disciplined, purpose-filled entrepreneurs, bringing together the program, mentors, investors, and community to launch and grow. Our primary focus is on startups who have a scalable idea with a focus on technology or other solutions.

Santa Fe is a place for social entrepreneurs to start, stay, grow, and achieve a positive impact. Through our community, New Mexico will become a state known for social impact investing and scalable social enterprises. A positive ripple effect begins, igniting social impact ventures and an activating ecosystem to support founders, team members, investors, and citizens.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. averages 20 technology companies founded per year that reach $100 million in revenues. New Mexico can be a key part. Through Santa Fe Innovates, we imagine helping to create at least five startups in New Mexico in the next ten years, each realizing $10 million in annual revenue. Job creation of 25+ team members per company will be a key result. Just as valuable, tangible social impact through the embedded purpose of each startup will multiply the outcomes realized.

Affiliates

Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce logo Social Enterprise Alliance Member Certified B Corporation Pending logo

Press

Philosophy

Decency

Treat everyone with respect – the right things in the right way

Betterment

Collaborate, learn, grow – innovation with humanity

Honesty

Own up to my actions and words – responsibility with accountability

Optimism

Always try to make it work – persistence with results

Effort

Do the work – thoroughness with momentum

Our philosophy in how we work with each other and how we work with our community is straightforward. Our community of entrepreneurs will create a better future through disciplined work, engaging teams and companies, substantial growth and profit, and worthwhile purpose.

“I know the idea for the company came through me in some way, but it’s beyond me. I planted the first seed and now I look around and there’s this amazing garden. I’m just an ordinary person.”~ Eileen Fisher, founder

Our Team

Jon Mertz

Jon Mertz, Founder

Jon is a 25-year tech and marketing executive. He led brand development, product management and marketing, lead generation, and sales channel efforts for entrepreneurial and enterprise companies, including Corepoint Health, QuickArrow, Deloitte, IBM, and BMC. He founded Activate World, a leadership and podcast community designed to explore corporate citizenship and activism. Jon is pursuing an interdisciplinary leadership doctorate through Creighton University.

Kent Nutt

Kent Nutt, Marketing Director

Kent is a marketing and communications entrepreneur in high-tech and nonprofit industries. He’s a strategic thinker and hands-on implementer with experience building end-to-end, transformative marketing and communications programs for startups, Fortune 500 companies, growing nonprofits, and academia. Sectors included telecommunications, 3D printing, network software, semiconductors, web analytics, and scientific research.

Olivia Grabowska

Olivia Grabowska, Director – Strategy and Community Development

Olivia has long been passionate about being a dot-connector. Having started her career in Financial Services, the 2008 financial crisis brought about an opportunity to think differently, which led her to establish an Accelerator/Incubation program for a large Corporate Bank. She started working with both external and internal startups, and decided to shift her focus from the buy side to the build side, with an emphasis on Product Management and Strategy. From Financial Services to Marketing to Hospitality to the Recycling Industry, she’s worked with several startups within several industries, applying lean startup principles and customer centricity to help shape strategy and build the right product. She’s always been driven to learn about new industries, business models, and ways of operating, and is excited to provide her insights through the experiences she’s gained to our social enterprises and entrepreneurs.

Olivia moved to “the City Different” in January 2020 after falling in love with Santa Fe through her travels. She is looking forward to meeting and working with our tremendous community here, and is eager to help build an engine that drives economic diversity in Santa Fe.

 

Alex Ennis

Alex Ennis, Digital Marketing Manager

Alex is a graduate from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management with a bachelors degree in marketing. He is responsible for the development and strategy of Santa Fe Innovates’ social media platforms. Alex is learning as much as he can to hone his skills before starting a business of his own. He is interested in the concept of a “brand’s image” and is intrigued to learning how businesses build successful brands. Alex spends his free time taking photos and creating videos with his Nikon camera.

Advisory Council

Tom Aageson

Tom Aageson, Co-Founder (Emeritus), Creative Startups

Tom is the co-founder of Creative Startups. He is also the co-founder of the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, the largest folk art market in the world. Tom was VP of Marketing and Merchandising at Mystic Seaport, where he created the Mystic Maritime Art Gallery along with other startups. Tom led artisan entrepreneurs from 20 countries into international markets as Director of Aid to Artisans. He holds an MBA from Columbia University, a BFT from the Graduate School of International Management, and a BA in Economics from Marquette University.

Andro Hsu

Andro Hsu, PHD

Andro is a strategy and marketing leader with 12 years’ experience transforming technological innovation into novel commercial products across precision medicine, health information technology, and the life sciences. He has a PhD in Molecular & Cell Biology from UC Berkeley, and held early roles at 23andMe, Syapse, and GRAIL.

Victor Johnson

Victor Johnson, Founder, Santa Fe IP

Victor is an Intellectual Property (IP) attorney who founded Santa Fe IP to provide entrepreneurs, startups, and multinationals with the experience of an AmLaw 20 firm and the entrepreneurial spirit of an IP boutique. Victor began his IP career nearly 30 years ago as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. More recently, he spent nearly a decade as a partner in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices. Currently, Victor can be found volunteering at the Santa Fe Business Incubator with their Patent:ly program

Julia Sze

Julia Sze, Impact Investor and Lecturer

Julia has been investing in people, businesses and ideas since 1992. She loves a great idea, a passionate founder, and a company dedicated to doing better for the world. Since 2008, she has been at the forefront of the impact investing field helping to develop products, train talent, and find solutions for an emerging industry. In 2011, Julia started judging at the Global Social Venture Competition and has since judged at Fish 2.0, Food System 6, and the Presidio Graduate School. She has been an advisor to and an investor in a number of early stage social enterprises across industries and geographies. Since 2018, she has been teaching at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and leads a class on social entrepreneurship, impact venture capital, and sustainable investment management. She serves on the boards of Cavco Industries, the third largest modular home builder in the US and Tern Bicycles, a Taiwan based e-bike business. She also serves on the Investment Committee of Spring Point Partners LLC and volunteers on the board of the Amalgamated Bank Foundation.

Julia is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University.

Julie Crabill

Julie Crabill, Business and Marketing Consultant

Julie Crabill is a business and marketing consultant for organizations across the technology spectrum. She is the former Chief Marketing Officer of Descartes Labs, a predictive intelligence company that uses geospatial data to predict supply and demand factors – like agricultural outputs or steel demand. Prior to Descartes Labs, Julie spent nearly two decades in agency PR at SHIFT Communications, Edelman, Weber Shandwick and the Benjamin Group. Most recently, she was the founder/CEO of Inner Circle Labs, a marketing communications company focused on frontier technology, which she sold to Highwire Public Relations in Jan. 2018.