We launched Startup Colorado this month as part of the Startup America Partnership. I'm co-chairing this effort with Phil Weiser (Dean of CU Boulder Law School) and Jan Horsfall (CEO of Gelazzi). Dave Mangum (Silicon Flatirons Research Fellow) is the Executive Director and the effort is being sponsored by Silicon Flatirons at CU Boulder.
We've got a bunch of great entrepreneurs from Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs involved at this point and are reaching out to entrepreneurs in Fort Collins to help us get things up and running there. We're taking a 20-year view to this effort, so rather than create some grand conceptual plans, we've chosen six initiatives to go after in the first year.
We are building off of the incredible entrepreneurial community that has been created in Boulder and starting by exporting several of the concepts that we know work, while trying some new things in Boulder. The six initiatives are:
1. Export the magic of the Boulder tech community to Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs by expanding New Tech Meetups, Open Coffee Clubs, and Community Office Hours to these cities.
2. Create an Entrepreneurial Summer Camp in Boulder for talented college students from throughout Colorado. These students will be housed at CU Boulder and work as paid interns for Boulder startups.
3. Support entrepreneurial education in the Front Range by developing a New Venture Challenge business competition for Boulder-area high schools with the goal of seeding the other Front Range cities with leaders to expand the competition throughout Colorado.
4. Evaluate current barriers that entrepreneurs face, including an assessment of what best practices are in place at entrepreneurial communities around the US and world. We'll start by measuring in detail what's going on in Boulder and try to create a framework for any city.
5. Engage larger companies in the entrepreneurial ecosystem through commitments to help entrepreneurs.
6. Build the Startup Colorado website to be a thorough database for information and connections.
We are very aware that there are plenty of other cities in Colorado, especially on the Western Slope, and hope to include them in Startup Colorado in year two. We know that some of the ideas above won't work, and we intend to make mistakes, kill things off quickly and keep iterating on new ideas. Our goal is to do stuff, rather than just talk about stuff.
If you are an entrepreneur and want to get involved in helping lead the Startup Colorado effort, email me.