Published: Sept. 21, 2018 By
rural colorado workshop

Leeds School of Business faculty are elevating the conversation around entrepreneurship and innovation while spurring economic development throughout rural Colorado. Drawing attendees from places as far as Leadville and Boulder, the latest Vail Valley workshop series attracted an elite caliber of small businesses and startup concepts.

Demystifying Entrepreneurship and Startup 2 ScaleUp are taught by Professor Cynthia Banks and Professor Erick Mueller, Executive Director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business. On September 13th and 14th, they brought both workshops to the Vail Valley, teaching 35 local entrepreneurs how to both start and scale their businesses.

“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. “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.”

Mike Jones of Carbondale, Colorado, attended Demystifying Entrepreneurship to turn a business concept born from a hobby of building drones—bringing thermal imaging and 3D rendering technology to farmers and developers—into a reality.

Startup 2 ScaleUp welcomed a cohort of business owners already generating revenue, but looking to take the next step. The diverse group included the current owners of Yoga Life Magazine, which has a statewide distribution; the owner of Bishop Bindings, a top-of-the-line telemark ski binding manufacturer; and the owner of The Mindful Vine, a guided dining experience startup.

This session of workshops was put on in partnership with the Vail Centre economic development organization, and is part of a planned expansion of bringing the courses to other regions of Colorado. By forming more partnerships with development offices of local municipalities, Leeds can bring even more teaching of entrepreneurship—and in turn, more impact—to rural Colorado.

The next Demystifying Entrepreneurship workshop is being offered in Telluride, Colorado on October 13. For more information, please visit

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