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From Start To Success: Fort Collins Launches Startup Week


Fort Collins is in the midst of its first-ever Startup Week -- an event designed to showcase Northern Colorado as an ideal place to live and establish a business.

Boulder launched the country’s first organized startup week in 2010. Now in its fifth year, its success appears to have spawned a wave of similar events around the nation and in Colorado.

"It’s really a chance for these [cities] to showcase the startup and innovation communities in their towns," says Joshua Lindenstein, who covers business and technology for BizWest Media. "Showcase it to prospective employees and investors, as well as other startups and entrepreneurs who might want to come there and start a business."

Both Boulder's and Fort Collins' startup weeks come on the heels of a recent report [.pdf]by the Kauffman Foundation that found overall, entrepreneurial activity and business creation in the U.S. was lackluster from 2012 to 2013. That’s not the case in Colorado, however, which has the nation’s fifth-highest rate of new business creation.

Lindenstein says that’s no coincidence.

"That’s a testament to a lot of these startup communities in Colorado that are really putting an emphasis on nurturing these startups, whether it’s in the tech sector, or natural and organic foods, clean tech, or bioscience," Lindenstein says.

A similar report from August 2013 found four of the 10 top U.S. cities for high-tech startups were in Colorado: Boulder, Fort Collins–Loveland, Denver and Colorado Springs.

"It's really a chance to showcase the startup and innovation communities in their towns."

Besides showcasing the communities, startup weeks are all about providing tools for existing businesses and entrepreneurs to learn and enrich themselves. Fort Collins Startup Week includes 40-50 panels and workshops on business topics from funding strategies to building social networks. Business owners can also arrange mentorship sessions with local tech leaders.

The sessions are taking place in Old Town, and nearly all of them are free. The event culminates Sunday, May 25 with the finals of the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge at the Lincoln Center.

Denver will host its third event in September, and Colorado Springs will to join the trend this September as well.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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