Two years ago, the Startup Colorado Network began as a series of conversations between our small, but mighty team and our rural partners throughout the state. The world was turned upside down and we sensed a heightened need for connectivity, cohesion of resources, and a space for entrepreneurs to build community. After months of research, surveys, and meetings, the Startup Colorado team came to the conclusion that an online network for entrepreneurs would help solve these problems. There was just one big question: if we build it, would they come?
Today, the Startup Colorado Network is on the cusp of reaching its first 1,000 members. The network has illuminated what we’ve always known to be true about rural entrepreneurs: they’re building some of the most exciting businesses in the state. Take a tour of the network, and you’ll find folks from all backgrounds, geo-locations, and industries starting an inspiring number of enterprises.
Here’s a snapshot of what that looks like:
- 643 entrepreneurs and creatives in all regions of the state
- 300 ecosystem builders
- 149 funders and mentors
- Entrepreneurs working in 35 different industries
- A new series of virtual networking events, drawing more than 300 attendees over 18 events
But those are just numbers. We’re interested in the stories behind the data. Like Robin Hall, co-founder of Town Hall in Steamboat Springs, who asked the community for marketing advice and received “more than an answer, I got a new toolbox.” Or Hannah Hopkins Walton, the founder of Some Bunny in Ft. Collins, who received immediate recommendations for an accountant to help her navigate the world of 501c3s. Stories have always been an integral part of our work at Startup Colorado, comprising 25% of our mission. Since the launch of the Startup Colorado Network, we’ve now launched two podcast seasons and are currently hiring rural journalists to support our growing entrepreneur news site.
It may sound like we’re patting ourselves on the backs (and we might be just a little bit), but ultimately the Startup Colorado Network couldn’t have reached this major milestone without you: the people building for rural Colorado. Building an online space for entrepreneurs to find resources and connect across geographic boundries has been an adventure.
So, to celebrate the magic of connectivity, we’re hosting a speed networking party for rural entrepreneurs on June 2nd. Join us for a new, non-Zoom party and enter for your chance to win $1,000 in business services.
That’s right, 1,000 members = $1,000 for your business. RSVP and enter to win today.
We hope to see you all there! Now, here’s to 2,000 members and the adventures that may bring.
Yours in entrepreneurship,
The Startup Colorado Team
Taylor Grande, Margaret Hedderman, Vanessa McCrann, Erin Roberts, and Kayleen Cohen