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The Boulder Startup Boom: A Collaborative Approach

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Boulder, Colorado – Most come to hike the Flatirons, saunter down Pearl Street for a bite to eat or simply bathe in the reverent beauty that is, Boulder, Colorado. Originally, that is why I came. The aesthetic pleasure of Boulder drew me in, so in 2011 I decided to move here, attend the University of Colorado at Boulder and pursue a degree in Economics. I soon realized that beauty, or any aesthetic pleasure for that reason, just was not enough to hold me in one place. I thought about leaving time and time again, and then one day, I gave myself a reason to stay. I stayed because of the community – specifically, the startup community.

When I was young, my mother bought me a book called “Buy Straw Hats in January: Be a Successful Entrepreneur!”  At the time, I was old enough to read but still young enough to skim through the pages and purposely skip the chapters I did not ‘like’ – so naturally, I didn’t have a full grasp on what it took to make it as an entrepreneur. Nonetheless, I spent the next ten or so odd years brainstorming up crazy ideas, drawing up half-assed business plans and capitalizing with lack-luster followthrough. Luckily, these were the ‘lemonade stand’ days.

When I moved to Boulder, the model I based my ventures off of soon began to change. I began to collaborate more, surround myself with equally motivated individuals and shy my focus from assuming that I knew everything. With that change, I began to see tremendous growth in my own personal abilities as well as my success as an entrepreneur.

You see, Boulder is a place that believes success is not founded off the accomplishments of the individual, but rather we believe success is founded off the collaborative achievements of a whole community. Recently, Boulder was recognized as the Startup Capital of America, by Inc. Magazine. The author, Burt Helm, writes: “Boulder is an entrepreneurial powerhouse like no other. In 2010, the city had six times more high-tech start-ups than the nations average (according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation).” Furthermore, Burt states, “The history of Boulder, the start-up haven, is a fascinating story of a community that built itself from scratch through a combination of individual effort, shared sacrifice, and counterintuitive choices (not to mention a near-constant urge to skip out of the office and get outdoors).” While I resonate with urge to skip out of the office early and hit the trails, I cannot stress enough how important ‘individual effort’ and ‘shared sacrifice’ are – not only to the creation of Boulder as a town, but to the creation of anything – in this case, the Boulder Startup boom.

On any given day in Boulder you can find an array of avenues to expend your entrepreneurial energy, all of which facilitate success through guiding with one underlying principle – collaboration.

Boulder has been blessed with a multitude of co-working spaces like Spark Boulder and the Impact Hub, startup accelerators like Boomtown and Techstars, and incubators like LiftOff, which was created by University of Colorado students and fellow entrepreneurs, Aidan Gold and Marco Vienna.

Additionally, on the first Thursday of every month, Boulder is home to the Pitchers and Pitches Happy Hour event run by Galvanize, another local incubator/accelerator/co-working space.

The point is, if you want to get out into the world, share your ideas, and collaborate with some of the most driven individuals in the game, then Boulder is your niche.

Entrepreneurial ventures are bred everyday in Boulder, Colorado; it’s what we do,  it’s who we are – we are innovators.

Over the course of this blog I intend to cover the startup community, the events that surround the community and anything in between that is, or breathes, entrepreneurialism. Check back in every Tuesday at 3:00pm MST for your weekly dose of what is going on in the Boulder, Colorado startup boom.

Chase Howard Director of Business Relations
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