An online network for Colorado’s rural entrepreneurs and small business owners launches this week. The Startup Colorado Network, developed by a team of over 40 statewide business partners, including GJEP, provides real-time networking for entrepreneurs, across all industries, from farm to spaceship. The network is free for entrepreneurs and business support agents alike.
Spearheaded by Startup Colorado, an outreach program within the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado School of Law, the new platform is the result of extensive research and insight from rural entrepreneurs and business support organizations.
“We are excited about a targeted platform that facilitates seamless connectivity to resources across the region, adding fuel to Colorado’s already diverse base of innovators,” said Delaney Keating, Executive Director of Startup Colorado.
The network includes a Live Feed, a People Search based on area of expertise and location, and specific groups for industries and regions. It also features articles written by and for rural entrepreneurs, as well as Startup Colorado’s podcast. Users will have access to experts in their industry or region, as well as help with marketing, sales, and business advice.
“Colorado is a unique place of collaboration,” said Stephanie Copeland, a Partner at Four Points Funding and co-founder of Startup Colorado. “There are few states in the US that host the supportive group of founders, mentors, investors and service providers who consistently work to help each other. This platform is the perfect addition, making this collaboration and support even easier.”
Designed with Colorado’s entrepreneurs and small business owners in mind, network moderators will help maintain community by only admitting users with a vested interest in the state’s rural communities.
“It’s not easy to run a business,” said Mara Hardy, the Business Development Manager at the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. “There are new and different challenges every day. Startup Colorado’s new platform will make it easier to navigate resources, connect with peers, find collaborators, stay in-the-know about events and policy, and find community. It’s the digital hub and network we’ve wanted for a long time to serve our local and regional needs.”
Keating says the network was inspired by a pervasive need for connectivity in rural Colorado. Rural entrepreneurs and small business owners often have access to fewer resources and educational opportunities than their urban counterparts.
“We are attempting to solve for density, where it doesn’t exist. Instead of relying on everything you need in your small town, we are building opportunities for entrepreneurs to find needed insights and resources through a broader, mission-aligned network.”
The success of the online network relies on the number of participants and user engagement. Keating encourages entrepreneurs and small business owners of all stages – from idea to maturity – to register.
Visit www.StartupColorado.org to register today.