Denver is a good place to start a business and Denver Startup Week has been living proof of that. The city's annual celebration of entrepreneurs, which started in 2012, has already attracted 10,000 people to this year's edition, which features 250 events over the course of five days and runs through tomorrow.
Many lists rank Denver as first in the country for economic and job growth, as well as the best place for business and careers. It's the second-best place in the country to launch a startup, the fifth highest in startup activity, and fifth best for millennial entrepreneurs according to various sources. Forty-two local startups raised $408,909,000 in venture capital in the past year; the five largest were Layer3 TV, Craftsy, Welltok, Ping Identity and Altitude Digital. Downtown Denver's projected growth over the next five years is four times the national average, which makes this place startup heaven.
Governor John Hickenlooper kicked off the week at a breakfast confab Monday. "In this economy, the single most important thing any city can have is people starting businesses," he said. "It's the trait that separates normal places from those places where people create, places that entrepreneurs are attracted to. My goal is to make sure that Colorado is the number-one place in America that attracts entrepreneurs." Hickenlooper finished his welcome speech by stating that entrepreneurs are people to "whom 'disruption' is their middle name."
The governor was followed by other speakers who embodied the best ideologies of local startup culture, including Jenna Walker and Katie Thurmes, founders of Artifact Uprising; Jackie Ros, founder of Revolar; Eric Roza, the senior VP of Oracle Data Cloud; and Paul Washington, Denver's eco-devo chief, who was representing Mayor Michael Hancock.
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The energetic founder of Galvanize, Jim Deters, offered more insight into the mind of entrepreneurs: "When you're brave enough to build something on your own, it's because of your team. It's about every person who shows up every day and does the hard work. It's a good thing I'm a founder because I'm unemployable. It's what brought me here in 1998. I had no connections, no degrees, no wealth. But what I did have is 'entrepreneuritis'."
Entrepreneuritis must be contagious, because judging from Denver Startup Week, the entire city has it. To find out more about the remaining events, check out denverstartupweek.org.