The University of New Mexico hosts its annual Business and Economic Summit titled, Entrepreneurship in New Mexico on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MDT). The in-person event will be held at the Lobo Rainforest located at 101 Broadway Blvd., NE, and online via Zoom. For a complete schedule of events and registration, visit the Business and Economic Summit.

The purpose of the 2022 University of New Mexico Business and Economic Summit is to convene around Right to Start, an entrepreneurial opportunity for all, and driving civic change through grassroots organizing and mobilizing, policy advocacy and engagement, and lifting the voices of entrepreneurs through media and storytelling. The keynote speaker will feature Victor W. Hwang, founder & CEO of Right to Start.

The day will include panels discussing entrepreneurship in New Mexico and how to break down barriers and create more opportunities for new, young businesses. The event features several UNM officials including UNM President Garnett S. Stokes, who will be joined by New Mexico Lt. Governor Howie Morales to provide a Welcome and Opening Remarks.

The opening remarks will be followed by a panel discussion on the Right to Start Act featuring a New Mexico Legislative panel including Reps. Meredith Trujillo (District 20), T. Ryan Lane (District 3), and Sen. Michael Padilla (District 14).

Victor Hwang
Victor Hwang

Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer, UNM Rainforest Innovations, will introduce keynote speaker Victor Hwang, Right to Start founder and CEO, who will present a talk titled Entrepreneurship and the Right to Start.

Hwang is an economic growth expert. His ideas have shaped the economic lives of millions of people worldwide. His work has helped over 300 communities, cities, states, companies, and even entire countries in creating greater economic prosperity. His economic development clients have included the World Bank, Ford Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. He has also worked with corporate clients seeking to grow entrepreneurial innovation, including Accenture, IBM, and Microsoft.

Hwang began Right to Start as a campaign fighting to expand entrepreneurial opportunity for all by leveling the playing field and lifting the voices of everyday entrepreneurs, grassroots mobilizing and organizing, and engaging with policymakers at all levels.

Following Hwang’s keynote talk, Doug Ziedonis, executive vice president, UNM Health Sciences & CEO, UNM Health System, will introduce a Tribal Entrepreneurship Panel moderated by Sandra Begay, secretary treasurer, UNM Board of Regents and chair, Board of Directors, UNM Rainforest Innovations. The panel will feature Liz Gamboa, director, New Mexico Community Capital, Rich Luarkie, president & CEO, Tamaya Ventures and Vanessa Roanhorse, CEO, Roanhorse Consulting

UNM Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, James Holloway will provide closing remarks and will kick off a Networking Reception.

The event is sponsored by Right to Start, UNM Rainforest Innovations and The University of New Mexico.