Early-Stage Momentum: Validating Your Startup and Business Model

Santa Fe Innovates is now accepting applications for our fall 2021 early-stage idea and business model validation program to begin on Saturday, October 16, 2021. This five-week program will include an online learning platform, Saturday workshops, mentoring sessions and conclude with an idea pitch on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

Ideal applicants should have an early-stage idea, preliminary business model and have worked on their ideas for the past 30 days. Startup applicants with multiple team members will receive special consideration. Ideas can target any industry, including technology or the newly legal cannabis industry in New Mexico. Regardless of the business focus, the processes for exploring, iterating, and validating your ideas are the same. Program participants will be limited to 15 for the third virtual cohort.


Our experience with two previous cohorts confirms that a successful program requires a community of experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders that listen, challenge, suggest and guide our participants. We have created an engaged mentoring community that will help you navigate the process and the program. We also encourage our entrepreneurs to share ideas, connect with other like-minded individuals, and, most importantly, learn from one another.


Our program uses Lean Startup and Lean Canvas concepts and tools to explore, iterate, and validate your idea. The emphasis is on reducing risks and gaining traction, goals essential for every startup. The program includes Saturday workshops, mentoring sessions, online videos, readings, and templates to support your work effort.

This program requires your most valuable resource: time. If you are willing to apply the effort early on, you will gain the reward of solving a problem while developing a business model to support your business.

We begin with a focus on the actual problems faced by the customer rather than perceived solutions. This is known as achieving a problem-solution fit. We believe that business models should be built systematically with a customer-first approach that demonstrates traction, evidence that customers care about your idea. Using this approach, the business model, not the solution, is the product. More information on the program is available here.

Ready to Join?

Before joining, please read the details and requirements of the program. If you’re ready, you can apply easily by completing this simple form (note: applications are now closed).

The application form requires:

  • Name, City, State
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • A three-sentence idea pitch
  • A statement highlighting why you want to participate in our program

The program begins on Saturday, October 16, with the online modules. We will also hold a one-hour session at 12Noon MT on Tuesday, October 12,for introductions and a review of the program.

There is no financial fee for joining our Early-Stage Momentum program. The cost is in your time to do the work and meet the expectations for the program.

Program acceptance includes access to our online learning platform, Saturday workshops, and mentoring sessions (each Saturday and in our virtual community during the five weeks).

Note: We will limit the number of participants in the fall 2021 Early-Stage Program to 15.

Kent Nutt

About Kent Nutt

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.