Pushing the Concept of Collaborative Partnerships to the Next Level
Rebecca Decker launched the first tech accelerator in southern Colorado
REBECCA DECKER, 38
FOUNDER, 2/RD LTD
Rebecca Decker learned early on not to expect her life to go in a straight line. “When my family moved to Colorado Springs from Okinawa, Japan, five years ago, I would have never thought I would be launching the first technology accelerator in Southern Colorado,” she says. “But I’ve realized that if an unexpected opportunity appears in my career, it’s part of my path.”
Decker’s resourceful efforts to connect small businesses and their disruptive technologies with decision makers at the Air Force and the Department of Defense have pushed the concept of collaborative partnerships to a higher level while simultaneously redefining a typical accelerator program.
Decker, who holds a doctorate in business administration and marketing, ensured a strong first cohort with her outreach and marketing efforts: 43 different companies applied, of whom only six were accepted, including four from Colorado. Her collaborative instincts and resourcefulness resulted in 50 active-duty Air Force customer discovery participants, 29 small businesses recruited to support the program, 16 pitch mentors helping hone presentations, and more than 100 government and industry investors.
Decker also created the first collaborative accelerator to bring together efforts across Colorado through the involvement of the Boulder Small Business Development Center, which provided the curriculum other support.
“My work needs to be much bigger than myself,” says Decker, who has spent 20 years in the aerospace and defense industry, beginning as an 18-year-old enlisted Airman supporting the U-2 spy plane missions over the Balkans and Afghanistan. “Since then, my work has contributed to a variety of technologies, from national reconnaissance satellites to unmanned aerial vehicles and today, promoting commercial small businesses that are building innovative technology for our war fighters.”