The Commons on Champa Supports More Than 11,550 Entrepreneurs in First Six Months of Operation
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Posted by: Fred Bauters
85 percent of programs free to attend at Denver’s first public campus for entrepreneurship
DENVER (Dec. 2, 2015) – The Commons on Champa, a public campus for entrepreneurship in Downtown Denver, announced today that in its first six months of operation 11,569 people have benefitted from more than 150 programs, 85 percent of which were free to attend, designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Denver. The Commons on Champa (The Commons) opened on May 13, 2015 to bring high quality programming, advanced technology, networking and other resources at low-to-no-cost for all entrepreneurs.
The Commons was founded by the Downtown Denver Partnership, Colorado Technology Association, and the City and County and Denver to grow Denver’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and support strategies in the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, the 20-year vision for Downtown Denver, and Denver’s JumpStart economic development plans to ensure Downtown is the best place for small businesses to thrive.
“The Commons on Champa opened as a first-of-its-kind resource that is now a go-to resource for anyone looking to start or grow a business in Denver,” says Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “With more than 620 center city startups employing more than 4,350 people, turning successful startups into thriving small businesses is central to ensuring an economically healthy and vital Downtown.”
Other notable accomplishments from the first six months of operation at The Commons include:
· Serving as a hub for the fourth annual Denver Startup Week, hosting 19 sessions for 3,144 aspiring entrepreneurs.
· Releasing the Denver Entrepreneurial Resource Navigator to provide a regional referral network linking entrepreneurs to resource partners who provide services to help business grow. The navigator was produced in partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and U.S. SourceLink.
· Artist Jennie Lou Art was selected by a panel of civic leaders in the community to install artwork in co-working space on the second floor. Comcast continued its investment in The Commons by awarding a cash price of $2,500 plus the cost of materials to bring original local artwork to the space.
“The Commons supports startups across all industries by emphasizing inclusivity and implementing programming to support diversity in entrepreneurship,” says Erik Mitisek, CEO of the Colorado Technology Association. “The entrepreneurial ecosystem in our center city continues to strengthen thanks to initiatives like The Commons, and we are committed to providing the programming, resources and connections to help business builders in our center city succeed.”
The Commons also hosts an extension office of the City’s Office of Economic Development, which hosts programs and offers one-on-one advisory hours at The Commons.
“Through The Commons on Champa, we’re proud to strengthen Denver’s position as a premier city for startups and small business,” said Paul Washington, executive director of the Denver Office of Economic Development.
The Commons was brought to life through the support of 39 organizations who contributed time and financial resources for the $2.5 million building renovation, as well as installation of state-of-the-art technology and art throughout the space. Continued community support, including recent grants from the Boettcher Foundation ($25,000) and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation ($60,000), remain a vital component of sustaining operations at The Commons.
“Chase is deeply committed to Denver’s thriving entrepreneurial community, and we are thrilled that we are able to continue to support resources such as The Commons on Champa that are available for small businesses year-round,” said Todd Munson, managing director and market manager for the Commercial Bank in Colorado for JPMorgan Chase.
The Commons also announced:
· The “InCommons” Mentorship Program, which will launch in mid-December, will give up-and-coming entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect one-on-one with some of the community’s most successful business leaders, innovators and investors. The program is being sponsored by renowned Colorado entrepreneur Brad Feld and will be managed through Uvise, a Colorado-based startup.
· Winners for the local competition for the 1776 Challenge Cup, a worldwide tournament for the most promising, world-changing startups to win cash prizes that was held at The Commons on Nov. 24, included Mcsquares, Prima-Temp and Nextstep.io.
· On Dec. 15, The Commons will host a mentor “speed dating” event aimed at aligning U.S. military veterans with Denver’s growing startup community.
· Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network (BEN), which connects entrepreneurs with high growth companies, and Innosphere, a nonprofit incubator focused on supporting entrepreneurs in cleantech, software, biosciences and digital health, re-located to the second floor of The Commons, which offers dedicated co-working space for nonprofits. For-profit startups can also rent desk space on the second floor in the new “Innovation Launchpad.”
"The Commons on Champa represents the next stage in building our entrepreneurial community,” says Phil Weiser, Dean of the Law School, Thomson Professor of Law and Executive Director and Founder of the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (which hosts the BEN) at the University of Colorado. “It is a place where companies and individuals at all stages in their venture can find the help and support they need. We are excited to be a part of this new effort to support and celebrate our state's future business leaders."
Additional information is available in The Commons Impact Report and full list of programming and events, as well as information to rent conference rooms, event or office space at The Commons, can be found at www.thecommons.co.
About The Commons on Champa
The Commons on Champa is a first-of-its-kind public, private and nonprofit partnership that is a catalyst for economic development in Denver. It is built on three key elements – space, programming and community – to accelerate Downtown Denver’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. As a unique gathering place for Denver’s diverse community of business builders and innovators, The Commons emphasizes inclusivity and expands access for entrepreneurs in all industries through high quality programming, advanced technology, networking and other resources at low- to no-cost. The Commons was founded by the Downtown Denver Partnership, Colorado Technology Association and the City of County of Denver and with the support of 39 organizations who contributed time, resources and financial contributions including platinum partners Comcast, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Quarterly Forum and Liberty Global. For more information visit www.thecommons.co.