This year Mother Nature appears to have forgotten that “April showers bring May flowers,” as we seem to have skipped straight from winter into late spring weather. It’s only the middle of March as I write this, yet trees are budding and flowers are blooming all over the Grand Valley.
Regardless of when it comes, spring is a reminder of new beginnings. And it’s also a good time to reflect on all of our entrepreneurial support systems in the Grand Valley. They are in many cases the “showers” that bring new businesses into our economy and put “spring” into our local business mix.
The award-winning Business Incubator Center of course comes to mind as the champion entrepreneurial “rainmaker.” The Incubator is entrepreneur central here in the Grand Valley, and the key economic development partner charged with taking the lead in working with startup companies. On average, the Incubator works with more than 1,000 start up and existing businesses in the course of a year.
From the Chamber’s perspective, our Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a signature program, and it’s made possible because of outstanding support from so many of our members. It is amazing to watch these middle and high school students develop into savvy business owners that have the confidence and the knowledge to pitch their ideas to a panel of investors with the goal of securing startup funding. I’m hoping many of you will make plans to see these “budding” entrepreneurs during the Investor Panel presentations on Tuesday, April 4th, 6:00 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott. Feel free to invite any middle or high school students that you think could get inspired to apply for the next round of YEA!, which will begin this fall. Our recruitment efforts have already begun, and we could use your help.
Coincidentally that same week CMU is hosting Entrepreneurship Day on Monday, April 3rd. They too will have young entrepreneurs touting their companies for your votes. Many of them are intimately familiar with the CMU Innovation Center. The program will feature serial entrepreneur Ron Allard, the founder of Avon and the Telluride Ski Resort. As of press time, there still are a few tickets available.
The Mesa County Public Library also partners with the Incubator and the Chamber in providing “Business Connect,” the services of a research librarian and a robust database, Reference USA, to help identify potential clients for new and expanding businesses.
From YEA! to Sunrise Seminars to Leads Groups, the Chamber supports the Incubator and our other economic development partners in preparing fertile ground for growing businesses in the Grand Valley. Many of our most successful businesses were started right here and continue to thrive right here. We look forward to doing our part—with the help of you and other members—in planting the seeds for future businesses that will grow more jobs, making the Grand Valley an even better place to live and work.
Jeffrey S. Hurd
2017 Chairman of the Board
Click here to download full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce April 2017 Newsletter.