Denver's Ideas Economy
Cross posted from the Wall Street Journal "The Accelerators" Blog
Some of us were born here in Denver, many were drawn here, but we all share the same pioneering, entrepreneurial drive. It’s this spirit that lead to the founding of our mile high, Queen City of the Plains. And it’s this spirit that has turned Denver into a home for the ideas economy.
Recently ranked a top 5 startup hub in the U.S., Denver is already seeing the growth that comes from innovation — and building on that momentum to create a strong global economy now and in the future.
Whether dreamed up over a craft brew or on a scenic mountain trail, ideas and energy soar in Denver. The nation’s millennials are among those flocking to the Mile High City because of our relatively low cost of living for a high quality of life. Unemployment is down, housing prices are up, and optimism is high.
Denver’s public, private and nonprofit sectors are uniting to keep the momentum going by supporting the job creators, opening new international markets and training the next generation of innovators.
One of the largest obstacles to startup creation is access to capital and resources. Denver is working with venture-capital firms to bring more seed money into the city. To help startups find the VCs and other sources already investing in Denver innovation, the city created a capital matrix.
Denver is also investing its own dollars in innovation with a strategic business incentive fund as well as Denver Startup Week and the Citywide Business Plan Competition (both now in their second year).
Homegrown companies, such as software developer Convercent and ski companyIcelantic Skis, are thriving in Denver, as is Internet company Sympoz, which is poised to more than double its workforce over the next 18 months.
Building on the success of business innovation/expansion centers such as Battery 621, Galvanize and TAXI — which have made a national name for themselves — Denver is working to establish a new center for entrepreneurship and technology.
This publicly supported business accelerator, in partnership with the Downtown Denver Partnership business group and the Colorado Technology Association, will be a home base for emerging high-growth businesses in graphic arts, technology and consumer entertainment — especially large market gaming applications.
Securing new international flights – five in the past two years alone — is key to connecting our local economy to new markets for our ideas and products, as well as opening up the entire Rocky Mountain region to innovations from around the world.
Pair these connections with the new satellite U.S. Patent and Trade Office expected to open in Denver and we expect to become an international hub for innovation.
Denver knows our economic future depends on our ingenuity — and our children. We must prepare them now for the jobs of tomorrow, here in Denver and across the globe.
Our work to provide our kids with educational choices has inspired schools of innovation throughout the city. The Denver School of Science and Technology, for example, is graduating more kids into STEM fields today than ever before.
Denver is not only providing our youth with alternatives but with mentors, training and STEM camps that all work together toward eliminating educational inequity and preparing all students to become our 21st century workforce.
The city’s startup community is the burgeoning foundation of our global economy, and Denver is building it right into the future.
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