Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Denver, CO


Denver is Colorado’s capital and known as the Mile High City. NerdWallet ranked the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area as the nation’s fifth-best for young entrepreneurs

Denver, CO is the state’s capital and most populous city as well as the center of the country’s 19th-most populous metropolitan area. Known as the Mile High City, Denver actually has an elevation around one mile above sea level. In late 2016, NerdWallet ranked the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area as the nation’s fifth-best for young entrepreneurs, while the Kauffman Index ranked the metro area as the nation’s 10th in terms of startup activity. By itself, Denver came in at 28th in WalletHub’s 2017 list of the best large cities to start a business.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Denver’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Hosts weekly meetings in which a pair of entrepreneurs get an opportunity to showcase their startups to a panel of entrepreneurs and mentors that can help them.

In addition to bringing female entrepreneurs together for networking opportunities, the organization also aims to help those in need through monetary donations.

A group that holds regular events with the goal of creating a community of Colorado entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Aims to create a community of small business owners and other professionals to help them make connections and advance their careers.

Hosts monthly events in which local entrepreneurs that have found success share their stories to help others succeed.

A group that provides entrepreneurs with networking opportunities as well as mentorship, education, and support.

Networking meeting for people that create startups focused on sustainability.

A networking group for mothers that are also entrepreneurs or small business owners.

Hosts regular events for local entrepreneurs to meet one another and grow their businesses. In addition, the organization holds monthly pitch battles for local startups.

The Colorado chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs, TiE Rockies hosts networking events as well as providing entrepreneurs with mentorship and similar support.

Hosts monthly events with the aim of inspiring and educating female entrepreneurs.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

An annual awards ceremony organized by the Colorado Technology Association that honors tech leaders and innovators around the state.

An annual conference celebrating and advancing entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit in Colorado.

A large annual business networking event for small business owners in the city.


Startup Competitions:

“Network with entrepreneurs and financiers and watch the finalists from Trout Tank: Pitch Accelerator present their companies. ”

Denver hosts a regional competition for the Samuel Adams Pitch Room – a competition for food, beverage, and craft brewing startups.

A startup competition and accelerator program helped by the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts & Media.

Hosted by the UC Denver, THE CLIMB is a competition for collegiate startups based in Colorado.

A competition where entrepreneurs compete for a prize package valued at $100,000.


Co-working Spaces:

A co-working space with an emphasis on creativity and drawing inspiration from the community.

Creative Density’s two locations offer different styles of working space. The Capitol Hill location has individual offices for rent, while the Uptown location focuses on traditional shared desks.

A solar-powered, eco-friendly sustainable workspace that aims to help businesses and startups grow and succeed no matter their needs or requirements.

A huge space that houses over 70 companies, INDUSTRY has a wide array of amenities, including a recreation room with ping pong and foosball.

A modern co-working space with a number of membership plans located in an LEED Certified building in downtown.

In order to maximize productivity, Shift emphasizes the happiness of clients through top-of-the-line amenities as well as an on-site support staff.

A co-working space located just west of City Park that offers a wide array of amenities and several membership levels as well as the opportunity to try a week free.

Located in the north of the city, Sunnyside Station offers members flexible plans, access to a variety of amenities, and inclusion into regular events that include monthly networking meetings.

A co-working space with a pair of locations in Colorado that offers a number of membership plans, including the opportunity to create a custom plan to better fit your needs.

WeWork has two co-working locations within the area, LoHi and Union Station. Both offer a hot desk membership as well as private offices of varying sizes.


Maker spaces:

The Denver Public Library has maker spaces at several of their locations with varying tools and equipment.

Located at the University, Inworks is a maker space open to students, faculty, and staff.

A maker space with a wide variety of tools and equipment and offers classes to help educate customers.

Located in nearby Aurora, CO, the Mindcraft Makerspace offers several labs with varying tools and a number of classes.



Encourages the success of startup retail companies by providing capital, space, and an incubation program.

An incubator for technology companies that has offices around the state of Colorado.

Builds “innovation campuses” that help entrepreneurs and small business owners find success.

Incubators & Accelerators: Which Best Fits Your Needs?



A three-month accelerator program for high-growth startups that have at least one woman in a leadership position.

An eight-week accelerator program and pitch competition from TiE Rockies, the Denver branch of The Indus Entrepreneurs.

The program offers investment and mentorship programs to small businesses in the area.

A four-month accelerator program headquartered in the city that works with travel startups.

An accelerator program that works with startups and small businesses with a water focus.

Works with 10 programs that attempt provide solutions to food shortage issues in the Denver area.



MSU offers a bachelor’s degree, a certificate, and a minor in entrepreneurship.

The Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship offers a number of resources to students and programs to undergraduates and graduate students.

The Daniels College of Business includes an Office of Entrepreneurship that offers students resources and an undergraduate entrepreneurship minor.


Angel Groups/VCs:

Invests in early-stage technology companies from around the country, but primarily focuses on those in and around the Colorado area.

A venture capital firm that invests in oil and gas technology and services companies.

Invests in Series A, Series B, and growth stage companies in Colorado that make a positive community impact across a variety of sectors.

With three locations around the country, Grotech invests in early-stage technology companies in a variety of sectors.

KRG is a venture capital firm that invests in profitable middle market companies that are headquartered somewhere in North America.

A Denver-based angel investment group and venture firm.

Series A Startup Funding – from Anguish to Accelerate


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

ColoradoBIZ, a magazine that covers business around the state of Colorado, offers a daily newsletter with exclusive content and event reminders.

The newsletter of a site that focuses on entrepreneurship, arts, and culture.

Offers newsletters about the important business and technology news in the Colorado area.

The center covers small business and entrepreneurship in the Denver Metro Area and offers a newsletter.


Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Denver not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Washington, D.C.Chattanooga, TennesseeSalt Lake City, Utah

Article by Quinn Pilkey

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.