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Build A City Of, By And For Entrepreneurs

EDITORIAL The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Editorial out of "The Gazette" in Colorado Springs supporting entrepreneurs in the community for their creativity and hope.

The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Without entrepreneurs, we would not have toilets, smartphones or cars. We would be poor.

Entrepreneurs are foundational to human advancement and growing economies. Their innovations in pharmaceuticals and medicine have extended our lives. Their agricultural innovations have led to unprecedented modern declines in world poverty.

To thank entrepreneurs is like thanking the sun for rising each day. We need them, if we are to prosper and advance.

So we applaud the Quad Innovative Program, formed through a partnership of local colleges to inspire entrepreneurial innovation among students throughout the Pikes Peak region.

The monthlong course, in its second year, involves cooperation of Colorado College, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College and the Air Force Academy.

"The macro goal for the whole program is integrating these students from very different backgrounds and cultures from the four universities to come together and see the value in ideating to create value opportunities for each other and for Colorado Springs," said this year's director, Air Force Capt. Bryce Luken.

Ranging in age from their early 20s to late 40s, this year's participants will hear from about a dozen speakers experienced in business.

"My long-term, high-in-the-sky dream is to be the CEO of an asteroid mining corporation," said 22-year-old Air Force Academy cadet Adam Marcinkowski. "That's going to take a lot of capital to start up and a lot of experience in the business world. So you have to start small and then build on every experience. This is me starting small."

With a hot economy getting hotter, the timing could not be better for an entrepreneurial renaissance throughout metropolitan Colorado Springs and the rest of southern Colorado. Quad Innovative Program and other efforts geared at inspiring entrepreneurial mindsets provide a great start.

But making Colorado Springs a hub of inventions and great startup ventures will require a healthy cultural ecosystem. Entrepreneurs cannot succeed without support. They mostly need:

* Capital. The investment class in our community should bankroll people with good ideas that withstand due diligence. Money made on successful startups should be invested into additional rounds of startups.

* Mentors. Communities known for innovation consist of successful people who want to pass it on. CEOs, seasoned inventors and other top professionals should look for good ideas, backed by solid business plans, and help guide them to success.

* Community mindset. Entrepreneurial communities view wild, crazy, out-of-the-box innovations and startup businesses as normal. Retailers take chances with local products, helping small businesses bring products to market. The phrase "don't quit your day job" is considered rude, even in response to "asteroid mining." It takes a village to incubate a widget.

Nature gave us Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, forests and countless other assets money cannot buy. An entrepreneurial surge is the human touch that could make this place a world-class city.

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