OUR mission

To build a sustainable statewide network of human, social, and financial capital resources supporting rural entrepreneurs, so that people and places can thrive and chart their own futures.”

Startup Colorado is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that supports rural entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders in 53 rural counties across Colorado. We believe that anyone should have the ability to start and scale a business in the place they call home. We’re here to help both entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders access the human, social, and financial capital they need to build thriving businesses.

Colorado’s rural communities are giving rise to some of the most exciting business opportunities in the state—from scalable tech to Main Street retail—but numerous challenges remain. The growing cost-of-living and housing crises, lack of childcare, and difficulties accessing a skilled workforce are among many of the issues rural entrepreneurs face. Our team lives in rural Colorado and understands many of these pain points firsthand. We also know that if you’ve seen one rural community, you’ve seen one rural community.

That’s why we’ve logged thousands of miles getting to know our rural neighbors in-person. We develop grassroots, community-led programming that matches the unique needs of each startup community. In everything we do, our North Star is building a culture of potential for rural entrepreneurs.

How we do it

Making human, social, and financial capital more accessible and visible to rural entrepreneurs via:

  • The Startup Colorado Community
  • In-Person and Online Events
  • Founder Coopetition and other custom programming

Serving as the collaborative support partner for local ecosystem builders to strengthen startup communities around the state

  • Ecosystem development including community-led partnerships and sponsorships
  • Targeted startup ecosystem assessments with actionable next steps
  • Startup Event Strategy and Support

Building a culture of belief in rural entrepreneurship

  • Founder & Ecosystem Builder Stories
  • Educational Business Resources
  • A Narrative Podcast Series

Why we do it

Colorado’s rural entrepreneurs are building some of the most exciting business opportunities across the state, from geographically isolated small towns to growing rural hubs. Whether they live inside populations of 60 or 60,000, they are dedicated to diversifying economies, creating new jobs, and fostering local talent. Their goals are mighty and their challenges many. While some business resources are scarce, others are disconnected or hard to find, making it difficult for any entrepreneur to navigate. 

Startup Colorado solves for this challenge with tactics that drive greater awareness and cohesion on the playing field for entrepreneurs and the business support organizations who serve them. Through strategic networking, partnership development, and collaboration, we eliminate barriers, mitigate support gaps, and dismantle silos.

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Meet the team

Taylor Grande Illustration

executive director

Margaret Hedderman Illustration

communications & editorial director

Mark Madic, Startup Colorado Director of Ecosystem Development & Partnerships

ecosystem development & Partnerships Director

board of directors

Briana Boemer

Boulder, CO
CEO, Faraday Enterprises
Startup Colorado Board Vice Chair

Jeff Kraft

Boulder, CO
Deputy Director, Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade

Hunter Railey

Denver, CO
Executive Director, Colorado Secure Savings Program at the Colorado Department of the Treasury

Chris Franz

Colorado Springs, CO
Managing Director, Pioneer Fund
Startup Colorado Board Chair

Azarel Madrigal

Alamosa, CO
Program Director, First Southwest Community Foundation

Leif Ullman

Colorado Springs, CO
President, Ullman Technologies
Startup Colorado Secretary

Delaney Keating

Gunnison, CO
Fractional Integrator/Coach

Mike O'Donnell

Kirk, CO
Founder, Prairie Rose Development
Startup Colorado Treasurer

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