The last several years have seen the Front Range of Colorado bloom when it comes to a dynamic entrepreneurial community. A client recently asked me about networking and entrepreneurial learning opportunities of which I was aware, and I put together the following list.

For newcomers or those that have been living an insular corporate existence, these are excellent examples of the many Front Range venues available to learn new stuff, meet interesting people, and feel more invigorated.  And, if you are in the midst of a challenging situation for your small business, these may get you connected with folks that can help you close your gaps.

1)  Boulder StartUp Meetup - Coordinated by Brian Tsuchiya, this meets weekly on Wednesday evenings in Vim's 'cozy' offices in Boulder/Gunbarrel.  The topics cycle each week through the following themes: Funding, Entrepreneurship, Sales & Marketing, and Technology & Operations. There are usually a couple presenters each week with ample time for questions, feedback and general networking. Attendance is usually in the range of 30-50.

One aspect that I like about this meetup's structure is that everyone is asked to introduce themselves with a 15-20 second personal sales pitch. This allows you to find out more details about who else is there and how best to focus your networking energies.

For you entrepreneurs out there interested it garnering feedback on your investor pitch, this can be a great venue. Just coordinate with Brian as he is regularly looking for volunteer presenters to round out the various agendas. 

2) Boulder/Denver NewTech Meetup - This very popular and often entertaining meetup has been coordinated and moderated for several years by Robert Reich. Monthly meetings are held in Boulder (first Tuesday
of the month) and Denver (third Thursday of the month). The primary focus is web/internet-oriented startups. There are ample networking opportunities before and after the meeting. The meeting itself is crisply run with three to five presentations each week. Entrepreneurs are given five minutes to pitch and/or demo their product's value proposition. Questions and no-BS feedback are then volleyed by the audience. The audience is generally festive and energized, especially at the Boulder NewTech Meetup.

Join the Meetup and then RSVP for a meeting well in advance as the Boulder meetings, in particular, tend to fill up early (~300 attendees). If you find yourself on the wait list, I have found it often clears the day of the meeting. 

3) Silicon Flatirons - This organization is affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder's Law School and "pulls together a network of faculty, leaders in the technology industry, practicing lawyers, and students to exchange ideas about the cutting edge issues at the intersection of law, technology and entrepreneurship."  

Silicon Flatirons hosts regular events focused on a range of topics. For example, they recently held a very informative, half-day Angel Financing conference and have several other interesting events in the next month. Check out their Upcoming Events link. 

4) Rockies Venture Club- This organization has been around since the mid-1980's. It hosts a range of excellent networking and connecting events with a focus of getting entrepreneurs in front of angel investors, venture capitalists, and other  resources  that  
can be key to your business' success. You can save money on event registration by becoming a member.  However, you can still attend events as a non-member.  Take a look at their upcoming events and see if there is something that catches your eye.

Well, this is just the very tip of the iceberg.  For example, there are a huge number of additional Meetups whose links you can find on the NewTech website. With most of these resources available to you essentially for free, there is really no excuse NOT to feed your entrepreneurial spirit

5/24/2012 07:03:22 pm

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