Boulder’s Innovation Economy

Epicenter of Innovation and Entrepreneurism

At BEC, we take a well-rounded approach to economic vitality, thoroughly exploring Boulder's vibrant innovation scene. Our perspective goes beyond a strong economy and education – it's about the allure of arts, culture, and the environment, all of which draw and keep innovative professionals in Boulder.

Check out our Innovation Venture report for a deep dive into Boulder's innovation ecosystem and what makes it tick.

In this section...

Boulder is an epicenter of innovation and entrepreneurship, enhanced by the collaboration between our research university, federal research laboratories and industry. This environment allows new businesses to start and succeed and existing businesses to innovate and thrive.


Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Entrepreneurship is part of Boulder’s essence. Our entrepreneurial business environment is propelling forward with dynamic industries, significant venture capital awards, and high concentrations of talent. Helping creative people turn their big ideas into reality is a collaborative effort involving a number of individuals and organizations in the city.

But don’t take our word for it – just examine Boulder's impressive record of competitiveness and entrepreneurial activity:

  • Boulder has the highest “high-tech startup density” of any metro area in the U.S., according to the August 2013 Kauffmann Foundation Report.
  • Inc. Magazine has named Boulder “America’s Startup Capital” and “America’s Startup City”.
  • Bloomberg BusinessWeek cited of Boulder’s many natural and economic assets as making it a “top U.S. destination for new tech companies largely because of a bottom-up revolution by entrepreneurs.”
  • CNN Money has labeled Boulder as one of the nation’s cities where startups are thriving.
  • The Brookings Institution cited Boulder as having one of the highest ratios of patents applied for per capital in the country from 2007-2011.
  • Richard Florida, well-known author, researcher, and founder of the Creative Class Group, has cited Boulder as a leader in startups, innovation, and creativity, saying it “… sits atop my own rankings of the nation’s most creative metros.”

Boulder’s entrepreneurial ecosystem includes many support resources helping new businesses expand and grow, ranging from programs at the University of Colorado Boulder to venture capital and angel investor networks to accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces.

University of Colorado Boulder

Innovation is embraced throughout the University of Colorado. The Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship is an interdisciplinary research center at the University of Colorado Law School. Silicon Flatirons' core mission is to elevate the debate surrounding technology policy issues; support and enable entrepreneurship in the technology community; and inspire, prepare, and place students in these important areas.


The University’s Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business has been nationally recognized as one of the nation’s top colleges for entrepreneurs. Collaboration between the Deming Center, Boulder Innovation Center and CU Technology Transfer Office has established what Deming Center Executive Director Paul Jerde describes as “a model for the intersection of entrepreneurial creativity, technology innovation, and students.”

The Venture Partners at the University of Colorado is the conduit for technology commercialization by working with researchers to pursue, protect, package and license to businesses the intellectual property generated from research at CU. From CU intellectual property, 114 companies have been formed, 85 of which continue to operate in Colorado. These companies are taking risks to create innovative technological impacts.

Specialized test and measurement equipment and resources can be accessed through CU's Core Facilities Instrumentation Network.

Other Entrepreneur Resources

Boulder’s economy includes many resources for entrepreneurs, including incubators, co-working spaces, accelerators, mentorships and other support services, including:

Check out other financial resources and potential partners for entrepreneurs starting a business in Boulder.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The opening of a satellite U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Denver should further bolster an already strong innovation economy in Boulder. In June 2014, USPTO opened one of four new satellite offices. Initially, the office will employ 130, growing to as many as 595 staff with a $439 million economic impact within five years.

The USPTO chose Denver because the region:

  • Has one of the highest per capita rates of people with science and technology degrees.
  • Has an ever-increasing reputation as one of the nation’s leading locations for innovation.
  • Has relatively low living costs.
  • Offers an outstanding quality of life.
  • Offers a desirable location in which to recruit and retain the most talented workers.

The patent office will further breed and expand Boulder’s strong high-tech, entrepreneurial and innovation economy.

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