The Commons on Champa, a New Public Campus for Entrepreneurship, Opens in Denver
One of the largest public-private partnerships of its kind in the U.S. formed to boost Denver’s economy and foster innovation and business development
DENVER, May 13, 2015 — Today, the City and County of Denver, Downtown Denver Partnership and Colorado Technology Association, are proud to announce the grand opening of
The Commons on Champa (The Commons), a new public campus designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Denver. Located within a City building at 1245 Champa Street, The Commons supports startups across all industries by emphasizing inclusivity and expanding access to entrepreneurship through high quality programming, advanced technology, networking and other resources at low-to-no-cost for all entrepreneurs.
The Commons is not an incubator for select clients. Rather, it is a public gathering place for the city's diverse community of business-builders. As a key component of the Downtown Area Plan, The Commons was brought to life by the leadership of the Downtown Denver Partnership, Colorado Technology Association and with the support of nearly 40 organizations. The Commons is positioned to propel Denver’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship forward.
“The Commons on Champa is about turning our entrepreneurs’ ideas into successful startups and small businesses and setting them on a solid path to grow right here in Denver,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “Denver’s ideas economy is booming. This public-private venture is now here to help our innovative community realize their dreams and boldly move to create jobs and opportunity in our city.”
The opening of The Commons is being celebrated with a full day of grand opening activities, including a ribbon-cutting ceremony with public officials and key project partners, a panel discussion on entrepreneurial risk-taking, a town-hall-style conversation focused on accelerating Denver’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and an afternoon ‘Startup Celebration’ showcasing Denver’s craft food and beverage entrepreneurs.
“The Commons on Champa showcases the thriving culture of innovation and entrepreneurship we have in Downtown Denver and our community really came together to make our vision a reality,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “This first of its kind ‘public campus’ for entrepreneurs will facilitate connections, encourage collaboration and support the transformative ideas that will propel our city and economy forward.”
The Commons is built on three key elements — space, programming and community — to help accelerate entrepreneurship in Denver.
Space: The Commons consists of 20,000 square feet of space, featuring a 200-person venue for events, conference rooms with cutting-edge technology, and many valuable resources for the small business and entrepreneurial community.
Programming: The Commons provides an array of high-quality programs to support Denver entrepreneurs across industry sectors. Programs will include mentor hours, meet-ups, innovative business 101 classes, keynote speakers, leadership spotlights, workshops and industry-specific labs. Programs will be developed in partnership with a variety of businesses and organizations and will initially focus on the key ingredients to building and growing a business.
Community: The Commons is a place where Denver’s entrepreneurs can come together to learn, share ideas, network and drive each other forward.
“Denver is a city on the rise and The Commons will no doubt help Denver and Colorado solidify our position as one of the best places in the country to start and grow a business,” said
Erik Mitisek, CEO of the Colorado Technology Association that will be located on the second floor of The Commons alongside several nonprofit organizations that support entrepreneurship and the start-up community at large.
Serving as an ongoing resource for users, the second floor of The Commons on Champa will also house an extension office of the Denver Office of Economic Development.
Building on the energy of the startup community and momentum of Denver Startup Week, the Commons is a catalyst for economic development in Denver. The Commons on Champa will provide entrepreneurs with state-of-the-art technology solutions, including free Xfinity Wi-Fi services through a dedicated multi-gigabit broadband connection, collaborative conference rooms featuring next generation technology and advanced voice services throughout the building, resulting in unparalleled connectivity and speed.
“For more than half a century, Comcast has played a defining role in shaping the future of media and technology, and we maintain an unwavering commitment to pursuing innovation,” said
Rich Jennings, senior vice president of Comcast’s Mile High Region. “Our passion for innovation, combined with our company’s resources and leadership, makes it possible for Comcast to invest in projects such as The Commons.”
In addition to a dedicated multi-gigabit broadband connection, Comcast is also providing a digital art installation designed by artist David Niles. The installation creates a visually tactile, futuristic experience with a 270-degree LED display and luminous corridors.
JP Morgan Chase believed in the vision of the Commons on Champa from early on and provided the first funding for the project. “At JPMorgan Chase, we have believed in and supported this project since its inception,” said Randall Hammond, Managing Director for the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Colorado and member of the Denver Civic Ventures Board. “Denver is known for its vibrant entrepreneurial community and the Commons on Champa will continue to cultivate our entrepreneurs and connect them to crucial resources to enable them to continue to thrive, create jobs and drive innovation that will benefit all of Colorado.”
The Commons was made possible with the invaluable support of a host of forward-thinking community leaders and organizations including JPMorgan Chase, Ryan Heckman and the Quarterly Forum, PCL Construction, JG Johnson Architects, and experiential design firm Drumbeat, contributed time and resources to make The Commons a reality.
In addition, the following groups contributed time and resources to the Commons on Champa: