Sunday - May 27, 2018

Articles Written By SaraBaris

 

Boomtown Demo Day: An All-Male Affair

April 14th, 2016

Boomtown, a prominent accelerator based in Boulder, hosted a Demo Day last night at the Boulder Theater for its 5th class of graduates. “A major focus at Boomtown is on developing and adapting a program that is best suited for the start-up.” By definition, an accelerator’s purpose is to provide resources for entrepreneurs to accelerate the growth of their companies, usually in exchange for a portion of equity in the company. But what I realized last night, as I watched a stampede of almost all male founding teams parade across the stage at the end of the night, that the support provided by... Read More

The New Venture Challenge

April 1st, 2016

On April 7th, the CU New Venture Challenge will host its championship round as five teams compete to win over $20,000 in cash and prizes. The New Venture Challenge is a cross-campus entrepreneurship competition that encourages University of Colorado students from every different school and department to team up with one another and build creative business plans. The teams draft pitches and business plans for their new venture ideas and then compete against each other to win cash and access to crucial mentoring opportunities. The New Venture Challenge participants can compete along one of 6 different... Read More

Beyond the Front Range

March 25th, 2016

This column has traditionally focused on businesses located in Boulder or nearby Front Range communities. We here at aboutboulder.com live in Boulder, we work in Boulder and we care about the Boulder community. However, we are also citizens of the state of Colorado and there has been much buzz in the state capitol about building businesses beyond the Front Range. Governor Hickenlooper has focused extensively on expanding the economies in rural Colorado communities. His new program, the Blueprint Initiative “invites the state’s rural communities and regions to apply for specialized resources... Read More

What Does it Mean to be Employee-Owned?

March 10th, 2016

Just over three years ago, New Belgium Brewing Co., the fourth largest craft brewery in the country, announced that it had become 100% employee-owned. The CEO and co-founder of the company has spoken about the decision many times since the announcement, saying that “there are few times in life where you get to make choices that will have a multi-generational impact.” New Belgium’s decision to transition into a 100% Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) structure is a shining example of how the leadership in companies can make positive decisions that impact both society at large and the company’s... Read More

Corporate Philanthropy Made Easy

March 3rd, 2016

In previous articles, I’ve touched on concepts related to creating mission-based organizations and I’ve highlighted companies that have built a culture of impact and sustainability into daily business practices. More than any defined monetary contribution, these cultural and community-based efforts are crucial to ensuring that the future of our world is as bright as the future of our businesses. However, for companies that are looking to create lasting impact through monetary contributions, apart from or in addition to more qualitative efforts, the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado has created... Read More

So Much Impact in One Place

February 25th, 2016

For the past several months, I have written about business in Boulder and throughout Colorado with a particular focus on businesses with an impactful or sustainable mission. These businesses have run the gamut from technology to consumer products to non-for-profits. The Colorado Impact Initiative is a push to bring many of the diverse impact businesses in Colorado together in one place at one time. The culmination of the Initiative’s will be the Colorado Impact Days, a public showcase and investor-focused event to highlight many of the impact businesses in Colorado. While it is important to give... Read More

Supporting Female Entrepreneurs

February 18th, 2016

The statistics around female entrepreneurship are either non-existent or depressingly bleak. Alicia Robb, a senior fellow with the Kauffman Foundation and a prominent researcher on issues of gender, race, and entrepreneurship notes that over the last 15 years 85% of all venture-funded businesses have completely male executive teams with no females in leadership roles. What’s worse is that only 2.7% of venture-funded businesses have female CEOs. Right now, in 2016, the face of entrepreneurship is still male. How can we change that face? How can we make that face more diverse across gender and... Read More

How to Build a Conscious Company

February 11th, 2016

“For conscious companies, growth is different by definition. We don’t grow only for profit; we grow for purpose. We scale not only for a greater bottom line, but also for greater impact.” Says Lori Hanau, founder of Global Round Table Leadership. Many of the companies that I’ve written about and many others in Boulder strive to be conscious companies. They strive to put purpose before profit and to build products or offer services that make a positive impact on society. However, it’s not just an organic foods or a renewable energy company that can be conscious. Any company, no matter... Read More

Consulting for Good

January 28th, 2016

In light of an overwhelming response to last week’s post about the rise of the B Corp, I wanted to follow up on some of the questions that I received. Many in the community wanted to know more about how to become a B Corp from a practical perspective. I think most entrepreneurs understand the concept of the B Corp quite well and, based on the testimonials of existing B Corps, they are starting to understand the benefits of the certification to a company’s bottom line. In short, people get the why, they just don’t necessarily get the how or the when. What sorts of companies should apply for... Read More

The Rise of the B Corp

January 21st, 2016

No, the B Corp is not some new Transformers sequel or some government program designed to eliminate the lingering ills of the 2008 recession. The B Corp is a certification: nothing more than a label, plain and simple. It’s not even an official legal registration designation, it’s simply a signal to consumers that a company intends to behave in an ethically, socially responsible way and, in turn, the company intends to be held accountable for that promise. According to B Lab, the organization that issues the B Corp certification, “B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit... Read More

Waste Not: Want Not

January 14th, 2016

New Years resolutions are tough. They are tough to narrow down, tough to commit to, and, as we all know, tough to keep. But they are also useful. Mind tricks of any sort (or behavioral economics if you want to get fancy about it) can actually work and the scientific community would agree that making and attempting to keep New Years resolutions can sometimes lead to positive behavioral change. Over the last few years, in the hopes of actually keeping my resolutions, I’ve tried to stay away from small, superficial ones that force me into an all or nothing thought pattern. For example: Lose 10 pounds.... Read More

Holidays Don’t Have to Be Hard

December 24th, 2015

Earlier this year, Brad Feld, a prominent Boulder-based venture capitalist wrote a blog post titled Holidays Can Be Hard. The post was written in July, right around the 4th of July holiday weekend, but I think it warrants revisiting his poignant thoughts again now, in another season, during another holiday, which can cause stress and difficulty for so many of us. Feld talks candidly about his own depression and also cites alarming statistics that show that entrepreneurs are almost four times as likely to suffer from depression and to commit suicide than the rest of the American public. Holidays... Read More

This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Action!

December 18th, 2015

Boulder is a town filled with doers: people who would rather get up at the crack of dawn and summit a mountain than sit on their couch and watch television. I believe that this characteristic, the preference toward action over inaction, is what drives so much of the entrepreneurial success in our community. For a town of around 150,000 people, Boulder pulls more than its weight in the international entrepreneurship scene. This means that each of us Boulderites have to do more individually, and thus be stronger as a community. This holiday season, think about the entrepreneur in your life, whether... Read More

Impact Investing vs. Philanthropy: The Zuckerberg Debate

December 10th, 2015

We’ve all heard the ancient proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, right? Well, the meaning behind this proverb seems to be at the heart of a debate that has been sparked by Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan’s announcement that they would give away approximately $45 billion worth of Facebook shares over the course of their lifetimes. Any announcement made in such a public way by such a public figure is likely to ignite a firestorm of pushback and the Zuckerberg announcement was no different. Critics disparaged the Zuckerbergs... Read More

The Sustainable Shark Tank: Did the Sharks Bite?

December 3rd, 2015

On Wednesday, the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business hosted an event that they dubbed the Sustainable Shark Tank. The Sustainable Shark Tank provided an opportunity for MBA students to present sustainable business plans to a panel of expert judges. Unlike the real Shark Tank (the one on television, not the one at The Aquarium) the judges weren’t deciding whether or not to write a check at the end of the program. However, the judges were providing honest and valuable feedback so that the MBA students could decide whether or not it would be worth it for them to take a chance and pursue... Read More

Thanksgiving Food for Thought: When is Bigger Not Actually Better?

November 26th, 2015

Thanksgiving has come to be known as the great American day of indulgence: a day of over-eating, over-sharing and over-spending on Black Friday deals- like that shockingly discounted cooler or that 72-inch flat-screen TV complete with a mail-in rebate. We, the people, have taken our constitutionally granted liberty to take Thanksgiving as the seminal day to relax, spend time with family, and be grateful for all of the excess and privilege we have in our lives. Being grateful is undoubtedly a good thing for our mental and emotional well-being and so is having a holiday that gives us an excuse to... Read More

Taking a Stand Against Pinking and Shrinking!

November 19th, 2015

When it comes to marketing to women, outdoor gear companies have traditionally taken the ‘pinking and shrinking’ approach: offering smaller and rosier versions of men’s products with little regard for what women actually need when they’re in the outdoors. A new, and decidedly ballsy, wave of female entrepreneurs is pushing back, though, and fighting the good fight to connect adventurous women with the gear and the products that they want. Niki Kourboulis is one of those entrepreneurs and her Boulder-based company, Bold Betties, curates outdoor experiences specifically for... Read More

Has Social Media Turned Us all Into Beggars?

November 12th, 2015

Has online begging become the new economy? Mark Ebner, a writer interviewed in a recent New York Times article, sure thinks so. The article, titled “GoFundMe Gone Wild” discusses the recent onslaught of social media campaigns to raise money for increasingly less worthy causes. The author of the article, Judith Newman, admits that the trend began with a focus on sincerely admirable causes, like paying medical bills for a suffering loved one or funeral expenses for a deceased relative, but she aptly notes that the campaigns have gone haywire. Facebook feeds are now filled with friends, exes,... Read More

You’ve Got to Give Before You Get

November 5th, 2015

Boulder, as a home for start-ups, entrepreneurs and smart, innovative people, may seem like a welcoming place. It’s a place where technology companies can draw world-class talent with the promise of a high quality of life and perks like the ability to bring your dog and your bike to work. If you look at the career pages of any of Boulder’s prominent technology companies you begin to see a common theme. Boulder is a wonderful place to live because, though people are driven to create good work, they care about things other than work too. The people care about giving back and the companies care... Read More