Entrepreneurs, students, leaders across campus, and legal and business professionals look to Silicon Flatirons as a space to convene with meaningful purpose.
Our hometown, Boulder, was ranked by Forbes in 2015 as the #1 best city to start a business. Described as a rapidly advancing Western hub, Boulder has been dubbed by Richard Florida as “America’s Most Creative City.”
Silicon Flatirons’ role as a nerve center for Boulder and the entire Colorado Front Range entrepreneurship scene was featured prominently in Brad Feld’s book, Startup Communities, which praised Silicon Flatirons for turning the university “inside out” and highlighted its role as an important feeder and convener for the Boulder startup community. Silicon Flatirons’ entrepreneurship work has been highlighted in the New York Times and is mentioned in David Cohen’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Boulder Startup Community.
To support networking and an exchange of ideas, the Center sponsors and supports a wide-range of events, programs, and competitions.
Startup Variety Show
Our Startup Variety Show ranks among the best ways to engage with Colorado’s Front Range entrepreneurial community. Now in its second year, the series stitches together the startup scene, CU Boulder, innovators from the Federal Labs, as well as technologists from incumbent technology companies. We spotlight the most creative minds in the area, and sessions regularly feature entrepreneurs who highlight promising startups from Colorado’s Front Range; compelling technology-oriented research from CU Boulder and the Federal Labs; new projects from incumbent technology companies with offices in the Front Range; investors discussing their fund’s thesis and/or trends in investing; potpourri (tech and the arts, legal or policy issues, or other community items of interest); food, drink, and opportunity to meet other people involved in the innovation and entrepreneurship community.
Entrepreneurs Unplugged attracts star entrepreneurs who share candid stories and insights in an engaging and informal setting. The unplugged series serves as a meeting place for campus and community members to gather and learn about entrepreneurship through the experiences of a successful entrepreneur.
Past guests have included James Dimon, Heidi Ganahl, Sam Zell, Charlie Ergen, Kim Jordan and many other serial entrepreneurs.
Each Entrepreneurs Unplugged meeting features food, drink and, most importantly, an experienced entrepreneur who shares his or her startup experiences. The program offers students and faculty an opportunity to learn how a successful startup is created, as well as the chance to ask direct questions to the guest entrepreneur and network with members of the local entrepreneurial community.
Crash Course Series
The Crash Course series examines legal and business topics that entrepreneurs confront when launching new ventures. Attendees gain a working knowledge of specific topics that pertain to navigating the startup world.
Past topics have included pitching to angel investors, planning for M&A, creating boards, and managing intellectual property. Local legal professionals and business leaders teach these courses, which are open to all who are interested.
Startup Summer helps student interns maximize their summer experience. The 10-week program brings together interns from Colorado Front Range startups and emerging companies and guides them through the startup ideation and creation process, supporting them as they build their own venture and compete in an end-of-summer pitch contest with cash prizes.
The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ELC) provides law students with practical experience in transactional law while offering valuable legal services without charge to local startup businesses lacking access to legal resources.
Campus-related Programs and Activities
CU Boulder fosters the growth of startups and the entrepreneurial mindset and skillset needed for innovation and is ranked by Forbes as one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurial public universities. Through the cross-campus Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to develop their entrepreneurial talents and innovative thinking. As one of the campus leaders of this effort, Silicon Flatirons seeks out new ways of enhancing the entrepreneurial culture on campus, which spans across departments and classifications.
The New Venture Challenge is CU Boulder’s entrepreneurial flight-simulator for students, staff, and faculty to try out entrepreneurship. Silicon Flatirons runs the Information Technology Track, which is geared toward businesses with technology as the primary business driver. Spanning September through April, the NVC blends a network of nearly 100 mentors, a series of workshops, and real-world feedback from judges during quick pitch night and the competition phase. Cash prizes are available for IT Track participants and the IT Track winner will pitch for the grand prize at the NVC Championship. Past NVC participants have used the program to spring-board into programs such as TechStars and the NSF I-Corps program, and compete on the popular TV show Shark Tank.