Resources for Entrepreneurs in Denver & Boulder
Colorado has been ranked #4 in “America’s Top States For Business,” according to CNBC. This distinction is in large part due to the significant amount of resources available state-wide. Competitive states like Colorado encourage new ideas and have the resources to support entrepreneurship.
We’ve compiled the ultimate list of resources for Colorado entrepreneurs that you can leverage to improve your business success. Namely:
- Legal Resources for Entrepreneurs: Denver and Boulder entrepreneurs can receive advice on numerous corporate law topics.
- Financial Resources for Entrepreneurs: Confidently tackle financial questions with the help of mentors and workshops geared toward Colorado entrepreneurs.
- Networking Opportunities for Entrepreneurs: Festivals, community coalitions, and groups on the Front Range offer the chance to connect, collaborate, and grow.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re in the midst of your business journey, these resources will provide excellent value for every stage of entrepreneurship.
Legal Resources for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurial Law Clinic
The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ELC) at the University of Colorado Boulder aims to help law students gain real-world experience. One of the ways they do so is by providing free legal counsel to entrepreneurs.
Students provide legal advice under the guidance of professors and attorneys. Denver-based entrepreneurs can receive advice on numerous corporate law topics, such as:
- Commercial contracts
- Handling intellectual property rights
- Drawing up shareholder agreements
Entrepreneurs need to apply to work with the ELC, and finalists are chosen based on several criteria. Once an application is approved, the entrepreneurs interview with the ELC to determine if a mutual benefit exists. An accepted applicant must sign an engagement letter to ensure commitment.
If you have a need that can’t wait for the ELC selection process to run its course, consider checking out UpCounsel. In addition to having a free online repository of articles and forms, thousands of lawyers nationwide are willing to make bids on proposals. You can search for counsel by state, legal area, or topic of interest.
In any location, CooleyGO can help you to identify and create all the essential legal documents you need to get started. Whether you want to incorporate your business or protect your intellectual property with a non-disclosure agreement, you’ll find their free, easy-to-use document generator indispensable. They also curate outstanding content on topics ranging from creating a board of directors to selling your company.
Financial Resources for Entrepreneurs
Another organization that offers free counsel is SCORE Denver. SCORE assists local entrepreneurs in confidently tackling financial questions. SCORE does everything from pairing you with a mentor in the business world to helping you enroll in workshops on various topics to providing free financial resources.
SCORE relies on a dedicated group of local business people who volunteer their time and experience to help those just getting started. Mentoring is free and entirely confidential. SCORE also hosts workshops focused on small businesses and entrepreneurs. Although many workshops are free, some include a small fee.
Prefer to do your own business research? SCORE includes an online library dedicated to documents and information about owning a small business. You can find information on a variety of topics from how to finance your company to government statutes that affect your industry.
B:Side Fund (formerly Colorado Lending Source) has a range of loan products and a referral program of partners offering additional lending options. Their blog provides various resources catering to finance and entrepreneurship.
Networking Resources for Entrepreneurs
Both Denver and Boulder host a “Startup Week,” a week-long festival in which hundreds of events are held to showcase—and further build—the culture of innovation in the region. Startup Week is a wonderful free event offering networking opportunities, vast resources, and global culture. Always a sought-after festival, it’s the largest of its kind in North America. Denver Startup Week is the pinnacle of entrepreneurial energy, innovation, and connection.
- Denver Startup Week: September 18-22, 2023
- Boulder Startup Week: May 15-18, 2023
The Minority & Women’s Chamber Coalition (MWCC) was formed to give a voice to Colorado minorities and women-owned businesses. MWCC created a leading nonprofit organization, the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC), to advance women’s leadership in an inclusive space. CWCC provides invaluable business connections, resources, and transformative education.
While we’re at it, feel free to review these other phenomenal women-led resources:
Coaching & Mentorship
For those who desire a deeper dive into business coaching, the Denver and Boulder community offers abundant resources. The Founders Network provides mentorship through everything from cohort programs to conferences to private coaching. Techstars, a now global organization founded in Boulder, offers accelerator programs and bootcamps. Similarly, Boomtown’s Boulder Tech Accelerator aims to specifically help tech startups through their intensives.
Plenty of meetups along the Front Range bring together founders of startups and small businesses. Most meet monthly and focus on curating speakers who can provide insights and resources for entrepreneurs. Denver Founders Network and Boulder Startup Meetup are some of the largest and most popular in the area.
Lately, there has been a significant shift from in-person to digital networking. Numerous top-notch networking opportunities are available with the convenience of logging in anywhere, anytime.
- Denver Devs: A Denver-based Discord community for developers, engineers, and designers
- Women Who Startup: A leading platform for female entrepreneurs and innovators offering online engaging events
- Startup Colorado: Exciting event programming and business opportunities for the Colorado rural entrepreneur
- Tech Friends: A fun networking group for entrepreneurs building a website or mobile application
- Colorado Technology Association (CTA): Meaningful connections through a diverse and inclusive pipeline with a network of 18,000 thought leaders and entrepreneurs
Other Resources Not To Overlook
Part of the Office of Economic Development & International Trade, Choose Colorado has advice specific to entrepreneurs getting set up within the state. They have up-to-date guidelines on business regulations and legislation by industry. Furthermore, you can find Colorado-specific resources for entrepreneurs, including the Small Business Resource Guide, which takes you through the process of entrepreneurship in Colorado.
Choose Colorado also offers numerous lectures and courses for entrepreneurs and business people. Courses range from “Introduction to QuickBooks Online” to “Marketing Basics” to “Instagram for Business: Basics & Beyond.”
Additionally, you’ll find resources for:
- Filing for occupational licenses
- Getting proper funding
- Finding the best free consulting by business area
Similarly, Denver Economic Development & Opportunity provides many resources and ideas to help startups and small businesses. You can even meet with business development representatives (with offices at the Commons) for a personalized consultation.
Final Thoughts for Boulder & Denver Entrepreneurs
As a booming entrepreneurial hub, Colorado has incredible resources for entrepreneurs and innovators. We encourage you to use these resources as a starting point to connect with other techies, immerse yourself in knowledge, and attend leading events.
At InspiringApps, we believe shared collaboration is the key to creating immersive and transformative solutions.
Have any further questions? We’d love to hear from you.
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Generation Z is a brilliant and forward-thinking generation making a progressive transformation in the world as we know it. Following behind Millennials, they are heavily immersed in the technical landscape and are highly app savvy. They were born into a world of expansion and innovation with creations like the Apple iPhone and Facebook. Having grown up with the ability to access knowledge at the tap of their fingertips, they’re educated individuals with great entrepreneurial goals. They expect companies to anticipate their needs and will move on when they don’t deliver. They’re looking for flawless app design, fast iterations, responsible data collection, creative outlets, and more. Some Facts About Generation Z Born between 1997 and 2012, they’re in the era of self-discovery. Since their youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of technology and the online privacy issues that come with it; for Gen Z, finding their true selves is no easy task. Due to their immense media consumption, they expect instant gratification and high-speed delivery. As the “mobile generation,” 96% of Gen Zers are reported to own a cellphone—many spend 10 hours plus connected online. They frequent social platforms like Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, and other platforms. Gen Zers gravitate to mobile banking apps to serve their financial needs and streamline their tasks. Consequently, email is slowly dying out among this community of users. Generation Z interacts with apps in their lives as a means of communication, to fill a need in their life, and for play and creative expression. They are true digital natives and are hyper-connected to the world around them—making them increasingly self-aware and emotionally reflective. Generation Z also reports high rates of anxiety, depression, and mental challenges—more so than in past generations. Experiencing a global pandemic has only exasperated their mental health struggles. Consequently, prioritizing and addressing mental health is of great importance. Take Oye—a creative wellness app created by singer J Balvin “to make the world feel better.” It’s an app to transform your emotions into creative actions with mind-body practices, daily emotional check-in tools, personalized goal setting, and mindful notifications. Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference through social responsibility. Their innate understanding of the power of social networks and their regular consumption of news and information has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects. Considerations in App Development for Generation Z The Generation Z cohort is a significant target for app developers. Being born and raised in the digital age, they are always looking for novel tech to explore. Generation Z represents much larger historical forces at play, driving progressive transformation in the workplace that will redefine the entire generational experience. As a result, this generation has experienced increased globalization, technological advancements, and a fast-paced influx of information. Generation Z is changing the way we build digital experiences. Generation Z is the first generation to merge the digital and physical worlds into one experience. They view the internet as more than just a transaction and instead see it as a human experience. What that means for development is creating intuitive experiences that Gen Zers will love—innovative, straightforward, and seamless. With this information in mind, we’ve identified vital considerations to keep in mind when developing digital products for Generation Z. What Gen Z Consumers Want in An App Obsessively Tested, Flawless Design Gen Zers value efficiency and flawless design. That is why thorough testing and gaining user feedback are paramount. Be sure to ask for feedback from this generation and integrate the user input throughout your app’s development process and in updates. “If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey.” AARON LEA, ART DIRECTOR AT INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Glitchy user interface behaviors and poor design choices are instant turnoffs for Gen Zers. Make your app seamless and flawless from the start, or you may lose your customer. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions, and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product—draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices and standard features and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more. Fast Iterations Gen Z consumers have grown up in a fast-paced digital world and value convenience and efficiency. They prefer mobile apps that offer quick and uninterrupted experiences, such as fast loading times, easy checkout processes, and streamlined workflows. Keep your app low on data—fast to download and delete. Control Over Their Digital Footprint Gen Zers quickly went from a private world to everything constantly being shared online. In their formative years, they grew up with little technology at their disposal. They were thrust into a world of hyper-technology and interconnectedness as time progressed. With that in mind, here are essential factors to keep at the forefront of your app development: Privacy Settings Gen Z should be able to manage their privacy settings on apps. This type of functionality includes having the ability to choose whether their information is shared publicly or only with specific individuals and having the option to limit the usage of their personal data. Data Transparency Gen Z should have clear access and information about what data is collected, how it’s used, and to whom it gets shared. Responsible Data Collection It’s essential to ensure that Gen Zers’ personal data is protected from data breaches and cyber threats. Apps should implement robust security practices to keep user data safe. Value-Add Through Personalization You can add value with personalization by using various technologies, such as saving login information, geolocation, machine learning, and AI, to cater to the specific needs of Gen Z. It is crucial to find a proper balance in incorporating personalization that genuinely adds value, without overdoing it. Here are a few core components to adding value through personalization: Saving Login Information Gen Z is all about convenience, and one way to provide that is by saving their login information. By doing so, you not only save them time but also provide a straightforward user journey. Geolocation Gen Z consumers are constantly on the go and expect a personalized experience based on their location. Using geolocation technology, you can offer tailored recommendations, promotions, and content based on their location. Machine Learning & AI If you want to better understand your Gen Z customers, machine learning can be a potent tool. By analyzing their data, you can personalize their experience and provide the results they seek—before they even ask. AI and machine learning are great tools for automating manual tasks as well. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in many ways to develop apps for Gen Z. Here are some ways to incorporate ML and AI in your app to improve its performance: Personalized Recommendations: ML algorithms can provide customized recommendations to Gen Z users based on their interests, behaviors, and preferences. Chatbots & Virtual Assistants: With natural language processing (NLP) techniques, it’s now possible to create bots that can interact with Gen Z users in a way that feels just like talking to a real person. Bots can help users with tasks such as scheduling, finding information, or making purchases on their mobile devices. Image & Video Recognition: Computer vision techniques can be used to recognize images and videos, which can be helpful in apps such as social media platforms, gaming, or e-commerce. Predictive Modeling: Predictive modeling techniques can be used to forecast future behaviors and trends. For instance, a news app can predict which articles will be most popular among Gen Z users. Predictive modeling ensures your app stays ahead of the curve. Voice Recognition: Voice recognition techniques can be used to develop voice-enabled apps and devices that can be controlled with voice commands. This technology can be helpful in apps such as virtual assistants, smart home devices, or hands-free gaming. ML and AI can help app developers create more engaging, personalized, and interactive apps for Gen Z users. By leveraging these technologies, app developers can improve the user experience and stay ahead of the competition. Creative Tools More than half of Gen Zers believe they are more creative than previous generations. Most of them engage in creative activities in their free time. Gen Z is a highly creative generation that values individuality and self-expression. Therefore, niche tools enabling creativity are essential for creating apps that resonate with them. Concluding Thoughts on Developing Apps for Gen Z Gen Zers have a unique vantage point when it comes to app development. They’ve experienced the best of both worlds—an era of privacy merged with hyper-connectedness. They are vicarious app consumers, making them ideal customers for app developers. Brands that take the time to understand their Gen Z users’ behaviors, motivations, preferences, and expectations will experience significant growth. Considering the above considerations, one can ensure that their app hits the mark with this brilliant and forward-thinking generation. Gen Z wants more than just an app. They crave a unique experience that fulfills their daily needs and brings joy. The app should leave them feeling special and enhance their well-being. At InspiringApps, we stay on the pulse and ahead of the curve to bring you the most forward-thinking and trending app development insights. If you have any questions or thoughts on the above material—we’d be delighted to connect!
21 days ago
Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Creative Director, Aaron Lea, shares his advice on creating simplified user journeys within digital products. How To Simplify User Journeys When do you know it’s time to simplify your product’s user journey? When we design digital apps, we’re always looking for ways to simplify the user journey. Limiting the number of interactions users have to make is a best practice for most apps. The more users have to drill down into extra screens, the more likely they are to leave. I like to think of it this way: design the app like you’re in the Target parking lot and about to go inside the store to buy Tide Pods. As a user, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible. A quick exchange that’s easy for me to use means I’m more prone to open the app the next time I’m in that Target parking lot. It’s often the case that apps are downloaded, opened once, and then deleted. These apps are too cluttered, and people won’t reuse them. On the other hand, when users know it doesn’t take too long to accomplish a task—no guided tours they’re more likely to use the app. A simple experience is a successful experience. Unless we’re creating something like TikTok, we aren’t designing the app to keep users in it. We’re here to help users achieve something or access a specific feature. The fewer interactions it takes to accomplish that, the better the journey. What process do you use to identify opportunities for simplification? App design is an art that involves trusting your instincts. I like to think of this process as similar to editing a script. Editors are great at identifying what’s essential and getting rid of clutter. But their real goal is staying true to what makes the script great—and amplifying that by revealing only what needs to be there. For example, an app may have a component that mirrors the functionality of Slack or Youtube. These are established popular apps. And even the best digital products aren’t going to lure people away from them. Any project, whether it’s designing an app or a home improvement project, can be subject to scope creep. Is that feature really needed? Was it added at the last minute? We all get distracted in the creative journey, and the risk is that we keep getting further away from—or even lose sight of—the reason we started, the problem we wanted to solve. We need to stay true to what inspired us in the beginning to create the app. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO What are some common traps designers can fall into that result in an overly complicated user journey? One trap is elevating ego over empathy. If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey. Designers must constantly evolve, challenge themselves, and put themselves in others’ shoes. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Another trap could be the designer finding a new design tool or method they want to use and deciding to use it in a particular product. Novelty is not a substitute for suitability. A good rule of thumb is, don’t force it if it doesn’t deserve to be there. Sometimes, designers get set in their ways. Just because it worked last time doesn’t mean it will work this time too. Or conversely, designers may reinvent the wheel. If the design worked the first time, there’s no need to rethink it. Time management is critical. With mobile apps, people remember the launch, the middle, and the endpoint. A trap could be spending too much time on incidental interstitial areas. Don’t focus all your time there. Take that time and instead pick the three most vital sections—the app’s beginning, the middle, and its exit—and make those experiences ones that keep users coming back. Meet InspiringApps’ Creative Director Aaron Lea We believe that Inspired Employees Make InspiringApps and that our diverse backgrounds, skills, hobbies, and perspectives are what make us a stronger team. Aaron Lea finds his inspiration steeped in pop culture, a tradition of art in his family, and a creative digital design process that enables him to put novel creations back into the world and inspire others as a result.
1 month ago