Leeds School of Business faculty are elevating the conversation around entrepreneurship and innovation while spurring economic development throughout rural Colorado.
“Our workshops target areas that traditionally have fewer programs in place to support the education of current and potential community business owners,” says Erick Mueller, Executive Director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at Leeds School of Business. “The goal is for each Colorado community to see an increase of people starting and growing their ventures, leading to job creation and a higher quality of life throughout Colorado.”
On April 21st in Buena Vista, Colorado, 25 entrepreneurs gathered to learn how to scale up or accelerate their business. Pam Sterle, owner of The Drunken Muffin Bakery, participated in the boot camp and afterward said, “the information was very helpful and I can't wait to start implementing some of the ideas in my businesses!”
Pam was one of two participants who won prize money in a “shark tank” like pitch event co-sponsored with the AARP the week after the workshop. “This year’s boot camp with Erick Mueller and Eric Bruno was the best ever. It helped us “up our game” by enhancing the entrepreneur ecosystem in Chaffee County,” says Wendell Pryor, Director of Economic Development for Chaffee County.
The curriculum for these entrepreneurship workshops is driven to help new and existing business owners find their path to success. Those curious about starting businesses are able to learn how to take their startup from idea to product, brand their businesses, and get their first 10 customers. Small business owners learn how to address the issues ailing their companies through both the course curriculum, and the ability to ask questions of the experienced Leeds faculty running the workshops.
“The message we spread,” says Erick, “is that entrepreneurship is a challenging path, but one that is fun, rewarding and enjoyable.”
The entrepreneurship series is currently offered in Buena Vista and Vail, with plans to expand throughout Colorado in the coming year.