The Commons Celebrates Two Years of Growth
The Commons on Champa, Downtown Denver’s public campus for entrepreneurship founded by the Downtown Denver Partnership, City and County of Denver, and Colorado Technology Association, celebrates two years of fostering community, innovation and entrepreneurship this week by launching several new programs designed to support the program’s overarching emphasis on creating a diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial community in Denver.
The Commons opened in May 2015 and has since welcomed nearly 30,000 people through its doors to access free business building resources, mentorship, inspiration and more. Regular programming at The Commons including monthly Leadership Spotlights, an extension office of the City’s Office of Economic Development, the InCommons mentorship program, and regular programs hosted by Denver’s startup community including lessons about legal issues and financing growth. The QF Innovation Lounge also offers free work space that has served as a home base to several of Downtown’s rising startups including mc squares, Sitter, Alt Ethos and more.
The programs at The Commons are accessible to anyone looking to start a business, while ensuring that Denver’s startup community is diverse and inclusive through specific programming aimed at integrating women and minority entrepreneurs.
“Denver has the fifth highest percentage of women-owned businesses in U.S., but we know that women and minorities often face significant barriers including lack of access to capital, networks and the resources necessary to lead and grow a business,” said Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership and co-founder of The Commons. “It’s more important than ever to connect entrepreneurs to the right resources so that we begin to see higher rates of success in building and growing successful women – and minority–owned businesses right here in our center city.”
In celebration of its second anniversary – dubbed The Commons 2.0 – The Commons is kicking off new programming aimed at bringing together Denver’s startup community, sharing resources and supporting the entrepreneurial success of women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs. The new series of programs, supported in part from a $400,000 grant from the Kauffman Foundation, is designed to help remove the barriers often facing entrepreneurs including access to capital, networking, and the resources necessary to help lead and grow a business.
New signature programming includes:
- Women on the Rise – Women on the Rise is an initiative aimed at supporting the entrepreneurial success of women, including connections, resources and a series of intimate conversations with some of Denver’s most successful women founders, innovators and business leaders. The program is a collaboration between The Commons and Traci Lounsbury, who will chair the program. Lounsbury is a Downtown Denver Partnership Board member and president and co-founder of ELEMENTS, a $66 million workplace furnishing and integrated interiors solution company in Denver and served as the program’s first speaker.
- CO.STARTERS at The Commons – CO.STARTERS is an action-driven, collaborative business development program designed to evaluate ideas and establish a strong foundation for success. Each session is led by a facilitator who is an experienced entrepreneur and participants leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business and articulate the business model. The nine-week program costs a flat fee of $125 and following the launch of its first cohort this week, new cohorts will begin quarterly. Applications are being accepted through July 17 for the next cohort which will begin in August.
- Women InCommons – The Women InCommons program is an extension of the center’s mentorship program with an emphasis on connecting up-and-coming and established female entrepreneurs in both community and one-on-one sessions.
- CO.mmunity – This free membership program will enable The Commons to identify and highlight members of the entrepreneurship community while enabling productive connections among members and efficient use and development of the space, resources and programs available at The Commons. CO.mmunity supports the broader entrepreneurship ecosystem and is comprised of entrepreneurs who are starting and growing businesses and those committed to supporting their efforts.
“The Commons on Champa was founded to grow Downtown Denver’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship and by reducing barriers to entry and supporting entrepreneurs from all walks of life start and grow businesses we are creating a stronger, more integrated entrepreneurial ecosystem in Downtown Denver,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “We truly believe that economic growth and city-wide prosperity happens when entrepreneurs come together to create community, share ideas and empower themselves, and The Commons on Champa is the place where all of that happens and more.”
The Commons serves to support Denver’s diverse community of entreprenurs looking to start and grow their businesses. With the addition of these new programs, The Commons aims to be Denver’s hub for community, resource and inspiration.