Silicon Flatirons Center's 2008-2009 Entrepreneurial Initiatives

Silicon Flatirons Center continues to expand its involvement in the entrepreneurial community. Our ambitious 2008-09 entrepreneurship initiatives underscore our on going commitment to help catalyze IT-related entrepreneurship across campus and in the community.

Silicon Flatirons Center continues to expand its involvement in the entrepreneurial community. Our ambitious 2008-09 entrepreneurship initiatives underscore our on going commitment to help catalyze IT-related entrepreneurship across campus and in the community.

A variety of indicators highlight that Colorado in general – and Boulder in particular – provides fertile ground for IT-based entrepreneurial ventures. The Milken Institute’s 2008 State Technology and Science Index ranked Colorado third (and above California) for the state’s technology and science assets. Additionally, Boulder ranked No. 1 by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston researchers in 2007 as the highest performing small city for venture capital investment, and No. 2 by the American Electronics Association in 2008 for percentage of workers employed in high technology.

Within Boulder’s burgeoning entrepreneurial community, Silicon Flatirons Center is becoming a nerve center. Indeed, two notable blogs (the Foundry Group and Dan Caruso) recently lauded the combined efforts of Silicon Flatirons, the Business School’s Deming Center, and the Engineering School’s eShip initiative — in helping create an “entrepreneurial university” and support new business in the area. Silicon Flatirons’ entrepreneurial initiatives build on our core goal of helping catalyze IT related innovation across the University of Colorado campus as well as within the Boulder/Denver community. These initiatives have struck a favorable chord. As a local entrepreneur recently told us, we’ve already helped “moved the meter” concerning entrepreneurship in the Boulder/Denver area.

In addition to the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, now entering its eighth year providing free legal assistance to start-up clients, we have five noteworthy 2008-09 initiatives.

First, the New Technology Meetup – held the first Tuesday of every month at the Wolf Law Building – has proven to be a wild success and a cornerstone of Silicon Flatirons’ community involvement. The Meetup is led by Robert Reich of Me.dium. Each month, area startups present demonstrations of their newest web and software technologies. The attendance of the New Technology Meetup has continued to gain momentum since its inception. It now boasts an overall membership exceeding 1500 members, with 300 consistently attending each month’s meeting at the law school.

Second, our Entrepreneurs Unplugged series each month welcomes a successful entrepreneur to present insight and stories relating to his or her success and career path. Robert Reich of Me.dium (the leader of the New Technology Meetup) and Jason Mendelson of the Foundry Group, a leading venture capital firm, serve as the program’s moderators. The program offers students and faculty an opportunity to learn how a successful start up is created, as well as an opportunity to ask direct questions to the guest entrepreneur and network with members of the local entrepreneurial community. Our 2008 line-up will feature the following guests:

  • September 17 – Paul Berberian: Paul’s accolades include co-founding Market Force Information, the country’s leading customer experience measurement service for large retailers. Paul also was CEO and co-founder of Raindance Communications, a web and phone conferencing services company acquired by West Corporation in 2006.
  • October 23 – TBD.
  • November 19 — Roy Dimoff: Roy is the Chairman and CEO and co-founder of ViaWest, a highly successful Internet solutions and hosting company.
  • After the winter break, the series will resume in 2009 on the third Wednesday of each month (February 18, March 18 and April 15).

Third, as a follow up to our successful IP Crash Course for entrepreneurs held during spring 2008, we have expanded our Crash Course series. These offerings address topics of interest to entrepreneurs and others involved with establishing new ventures. Each Crash Course module lasts approximately two hours and is open to the outside community. The following Crash Courses are slated for 2008-09: Tax and Business Considerations for Start-ups: Choice of Entity and Equity Incentive Plans; Intellectual Property Considerations; Marketing; Raising Money and Building a Product Roadmap.

Fourth, we have developed a highly successful roundtable series on “Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Public Policy.” Roundtables gather academicians and leading entrepreneurs, investors, attorneys and leaders in business to discuss cutting edge issues confronting the technological and entrepreneurial communities. Past Roundtables have served as a springboard for further academic development, on topics ranging from Sarbanes Oxley to Software Patents.

And fifth, we are working closely with Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds Business School and the E-ship Engineering Entrepreneurship Program at the College of Engineering and Applied Science to launch a CU Entrepreneurship Week from April 13-17, 2009. The centerpiece of the week will be the University of Colorado at Boulder’s first-ever annual university wide business plan/new venture competition. The CU New Venture Challenge, which requires participation of at least one card-carrying CU holder per team, has the dual purpose of (1) increasing student and faculty’s knowledge of launching a new venture and (2) strengthening the viability of startups emerging from the University and surrounding communities. Several workshops and events are planned throughout the year to provide forums for networking, encourage the organization of quality teams and further the commercialization of innovations developed at the university and in the community. Further information about the CU New Venture Challenge will be forthcoming, as well as a schedule of events and workshops which will be posted on the Silicon Flatirons Center’s website.

Our ambitious year of events is a result of the infectious entrepreneurial spirit growing on campus and in the community. We look forward to an exciting year of innovation and creativity. If you are interested in getting involved in this initiative, please contact Brad Bernthal, the Director of the Entrepreneurship Initiative, at

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