It Starts with an Idea – But Being an Entrepreneur Takes Work

Are you ready to be an entrepreneur? Of course, you are. However, you may be wondering if you are solving the right problem and whether you have the right solution. As you work through these two parts, the next is whether it can be supported with a reasonable business model. Rather than procrastinating or letting uncertainty bog you down, you can join our Ideation process and program!


Ideation: Process and Program

Using Lean Startup and Lean Canvas concepts and tools, our program provides a simple yet challenging way to explore, iterate, and validate. It is an iterative process. Reducing risk and gaining traction are essential in any startup. What it takes is 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.

Ideation: It Takes a Community

More than your effort, it takes a community. Coaching and mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders serve to listen, challenge, suggest, and guide. Santa Fe Innovates has the mentors and coaches to be there with you through the process and program. Like you, they want to see a more robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Santa Fe and New Mexico. They are willing to give their time if you are ready to give yours.

You can explore our virtual public community now. Go to Go Social Entrepreneurs and request to join.

Ideation Stage: The Time

Five Saturdays are what it takes to begin. The rhythm of the program is straightforward:

  • Each Saturday, it will be structured with a 90-minute workshop.
  • After a break, each entrepreneur will be paired with a mentor for 30-45 minutes.
  • It is a requirement to attend each Saturday workshop and mentoring session.
  • During each week, online videos, readings, and templates will continue to support your work to understand, validate, and iterate. You are required to watch the videos and do the work in our online platform.
  • Each week, you are required to write a weekly post to our private virtual community (Go Social Entrepreneurs), update the mentors and our team on your progress, and ask questions about the challenges you face. We want to learn what you are learning each week. Sharing is how we all improve.

The schedule is outlined below.

Week 1, April 17, 9:00 am to 11:30 am MT

Storytelling: How to Shape the Story of Your Idea to Share and Sell it Better, Facilitator: Melanie Lenci, founder of Kick-Ass Entrepreneurs (KAE)

Lean(er) Canvas Focus: Tuning Your Idea, Facilitator: Jon Mertz, founder of Santa Fe Innovates

Week 2, April 24, 9:00 am to 11:30 am MT

Lean Canvas Model: Developing and Iterating Your Idea, Facilitator: Ada Ryland, Early-stage startup strategist and founder trainer & coach

Mentoring & Coaching

Week 3, May 1, 9:00 am to 11:30 am MT

Why & How Social Impact? and Idea Pitch Template, Facilitator: Jon Mertz, founder of Santa Fe Innovates

Mentoring & Coaching

Week 4, May 8, 9:00 am to 10:30 am MT

Check-In and Questions, Facilitator: Jon Mertz, founder of Santa Fe Innovates

Mentoring & Coaching

Week 5, May 15, 10:00 am to 11:00 am MT

Idea Pitch – Present your idea to a panel

Wrap-up & Next Steps

The fifth Saturday is your time to pitch your idea to a panel and gain added insights as you continue to move forward.

As you already read, there are certain expectations to participate in our program. For clarity, the requirements are:

  • Do the work in our online platform – watch videos, read materials, complete the templates.
  • Attend each Saturday workshop and engage in the discussions.
  • Participate in the private virtual circle each week, writing what you learned and questions you have encountered.
  • Spend 4-5 hours each week to complete the online modules and participate in the virtual private circle.

Being an entrepreneur takes work, but it has its rewards. We are supporting you by engaging your needed entrepreneurial habits. The reward is in the results, but we also are offering incentives for the top ideas!

Ready to Join?

The joining process is the easy part. Please complete this simple form. The application form includes:

  • Name, City, State
  • Email Address
  • A three-sentence pitch of your idea today

Submit this form by April 10, and you will hear from us. We will begin the process and the work on Monday, April 12, with the online modules. Acceptance will include access to our online learning platform, virtual community, Saturday workshops, and mentoring sessions (each Saturday and in our virtual community during the five weeks).

There is no financial price to joining our Ideation program. The cost is in your time to do the work and meet the expectations for the program.

Let’s continue the work to put a spark into the Santa Fe and New Mexico startup ecosystem! It begins with your idea and effort and our community. Let’s all get to work.


We are grateful for the support of the City of Santa Fe Economic Development team and the New Mexico Economic Development Department. It takes a community to support entrepreneurs!

Jon Mertz

About Jon Mertz

Jon is a 25-year tech and marketing executive. He led brand development, product management, marketing, and sales channel efforts for startup and enterprise companies.