Denver Restaurant-Up



Launching, managing, and successfully sustaining a restaurant can be challenging, especially as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, DEDO is partnering with Eat Denver and the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center to launch the Denver Restaurant-Up program! This program is designed for Denver residents with extensive experience in the restaurant industry who are looking to strengthen their business knowledge and launch their own venture.

The program will entail a competitive application process to select ten participants who have spent five or more years in the restaurant industry, with at least two years in restaurant management. Applications will be evaluated on industry experience and the strength of their proposed concept. 

Denver Restaurant-Up will offer educational, financial, and mentorship components in an effort to prepare participants for restaurant ownership in the most holistic way possible.

The educational portion of the program will last three months and will require a commitment from participants of 5-10 hours per week.

Denver Restaurant-Up, through an accelerator-style curriculum, will offer a range of topics including: 

  • Writing a business plan 
  • Sourcing capital 
  • Identifying excellent real estate opportunities 
  • Understanding employer responsibilities 
  • Office management 
  • Marketing strategies 
  • Technology and innovation 
  • Adaptability to changing business environments 
  • Facilities and maintenance  

Participants who fulfill all the program requirements will be eligible to receive a grant award of $30,000 to put toward the opening of their restaurant. Grants will be distributed as reimbursements for approved start-up expenses, not in the form of cash.

There are no geographic limits or focuses related to the program, aside from the expectation that any new location funded by these grants be located within the City and County of Denver. 


Qualifications and requirements for this program include: 

  • Being a resident of the City and County of Denver
  • Intending to open their business in Denver 
  • Five or more years of experience in the restaurant industry, with at least two years in restaurant management
  • Work history 
  • Demonstrated positive engagement with the Denver restaurant community through letters of recommendation, engaged in professional development opportunities 
  • Preliminary restaurant concept ideas 
  • Ability to commit to three months of training requiring 5-10 hours per week
  • Ability to attend in-person sessions at least 90 percent of the time – classes will be held downtown and may vary in location. 
  • Applicants who are already in the process of opening a restaurant will not be considered
  • The program is only open to entrepreneurs who have never previously owned a brick-and-mortar restaurant


Applications for the Denver Restaurant-Up program closed Friday, May 20, 2022 at 5 p.m. (MST).