DDP_Commons_Horiz_White_edited.png

2020-2021

Impact Report

The Commons on Champa 
CCD_white.png
DDP_Horiz_White.png
SCH_6155_edited.jpg
SCH_6955-2.jpg

Charging Ahead
Through Entrepreneurship

At the Downtown Denver Partnership, we’ve been proud and honored to invest in our city’s future through programs and resources at The Commons on Champa. We are deeply rooted in our commitment to building an economically healthy, vibrant, and inclusive downtown, and over the past year we have transitioned our programming to ensure that our incredible community of entrepreneurs have been able to access our network of resources and support. 

The Commons is crucial in our mission to create a culture of ongoing innovation and entrepreneurship that drives economic opportunity for all. Thanks to creative public-private partnerships, an adaptable team and group of supporters and stakeholders, and top-notch programming, The Commons continues to serve as a national model -- and these initiatives have also positioned Denver as one of the top metro areas in the nation for small businesses. 

This year, we assisted 1,764 small businesses and served 17,500 individuals through programming that helped them start, grow and scale their companies. Of those entrepreneurs served, over 70% represent low-to-moderate income from vulnerable populations. Even through difficult times for business owners, these leaders came together to continue building a resilient city by launching businesses, creating jobs, maximizing opportunities for funding, and finding new ways to connect and show support for one another. 

We know entrepreneurs help to create a stronger economic future for our city, and add to the vibrant and bustling lifestyle that makes Denver unique. At The Commons, the future belongs to everyone. Whether for inspiration, insight, education, inspiration, leadership or guidance, our community can only thrive together, and will continue to grow together.

Building a city for everyone requires joint vision, passion, and drive from partners like you. As our city reopens, we know that the Commons will play a large role in ensuring we set up our businesses for continued recovery and success. On behalf of the Downtown Denver Partnership and the entire Commons community, we want to thank you - thank you for sticking with us through the past year, and thank you for giving us hope and fuel as we move into the future. We look forward to  rising through recovery in the year ahead.

-Tami Door, President & CEO
Downtown Denver Partnership

THE COMMONS ORIGIN STORY

Inclusive entrepreneurship is key to a healthy, vibrant and growing economy. The Commons on Champa was founded in 2015 by the Downtown Denver Partnership in partnership with the City and County of Denver, Colorado Technology Association, and nearly 20 community partners. The Commons is a nonprofit community center in Downtown Denver where entrepreneurs can find the resources, programs and community they need to start and grow a business. This unique, public-private investment welcomed an innovative model to embrace capital and resources deployed by the regions’ changemakers and economic leaders to create a first-of-its-kind community asset to drive economic growth in our city.

 

The Commons brings a diverse community of business leaders and stakeholders together to create a culture and community of innovation and entrepreneurship to foster social, environmental and economic vitality. The highly accessible spaces, resources and programs at The Commons ease the business startup process to advance equitable economic opportunity through entrepreneurship. The Commons has boosted the rewards of entrepreneurship for thousands of individuals, consequently advancing economic prosperity in Denver.

Picture2.png

Resources & Programs

Every day, entrepreneurs leverage The Commons to start and grow their businesses. The Commons’ community, programs, resources and space offer entrepreneurs a greater chance of success.

SCH_7015-2.jpg
 
 

PROGRAMS

The Entrepreneurial Journey Begins Here

Screen Shot 2021-05-06 at 2.01.55 PM.png
denverscupid.png

I couldn't be more fortunate and grateful to have been part of my CO.Starters experience with The Commons! I am launching my new business as we speak thanks to my awesome CO.Starters Core 10-week kickstarter program and my Cohort #13.

 

R. Tony Smith, 

Denver's Cupid, Cohort #13

 "The Commons has helped connect me to a network of supportive entrepreneurs and experts, given me skills and knowledge to help me continue to push forward with my business, and is just a stimulating and supportive environment."

 

Katie Wall

TheCultureBiz

It’s not your ordinary business program. The Commons entrepreneurial journey equips motivated entrepreneurs with the skills, tools, relationships and community to start and scale new businesses — all within The Commons community where anyone can thrive, regardless of where you’re from or who you know. 

 

Through The Commons Entrepreneurial Journey, support is tailored to each individual entrepreneur’s journey- we meet every entrepreneur where they are at in their stage of business. 

 

To ensure we've been able to support the most vulnerable small businesses through this time, all of The Commons’ programs transitioned to a virtual format as a result of COVID-19. This included mentor sessions, the CO.Starters 10-week Entrepreneurial Accelerator, Advisory Hours, and all business support programming.​

Expanding
Startup SPace

Expansion of our Startup Space platform enabled us to provide our programming outside the walls of The Commons.

 

Over 300 entrepreneurs have been using The Common’s Startup Space every month since we took all of our programming virtual—that’s thousands of people we may not have reached otherwise. 

transition to Virtual Programing

To ensure we've been able to support the most vulnerable small businesses through this time, all of The Commons’ programs are virtual as a result of COVID-19.

 

This includes mentor sessions, the CO.Starters 10-week Entrepreneurial Accelerator, Advisory Hours, and all business support programming.​

BUILDING 
Virtual NETWORKs

In response to the pandemic, we hosted weekly webinars with the City of Denver and other local organizations that provide expert coverage of topics such as the CARES Act, small business funding, and more.

 

Due to the Commons' strong online presence, especially through our partnership with the robust entrepreneurial connection tool, Startup Space, these webinars have reached people across the nation, as well as throughout the Denver metro area.

SHaring COVID-19 RESOURCES

​The Commons maintained a full COVID-19 Resources Listing for Denver Startups and Small Businesses in our virtual Knowledge Center in Startup Space.

 

Throughout the past year, the Commons also hosted daily entrepreneur support zoom-based calls to connect small business owners with local and federal support.

Each week, we send  newsletters to 10,000 small business owners with additional COVID-related resources.

Uplifting Businesses

Programming and COVID-19 resources are imperative to small business owners, many of whom are just beginning their entrepreneurial journey and don’t have the capital and other resources necessary to navigate these turbulent times. Through The Commons’ assistance and connections to like-minded small business owners, we anticipate the negative effects of this pandemic will be minimized among those utilizing our resources.

pic.PNG

BUSINESSES SUPPORTED IN 2020-2021

262 Businesses Accessed Commons Resources in 2021

2
press to zoom
1/1

Business Type

1
press to zoom
4
press to zoom
3
press to zoom
1/1

Business Stage

Industry

Community Member Type

BY THE NUMBERS

The Commons is an integrated resource hub for entrepreneurs and a profound catalyst for economic growth and equity in Denver. Entrepreneurship is a powerful force for economic development, especially now as a driver for post-pandemic economic recovery.

Denver is a city of opportunity. A city that develops and attracts many of our nations most  talented. And ultimately, talented people build business and business builds cities. We are at  a challenging and powerful point in the business cycle of growth and rebirth. We know that  during crisis and recession, seeds of ideas are formed, and some ideas will turn into the high  growth companies of tomorrow.

State

In Colorado

  • #1 in Promoting Innovation and Women Entrepreneurs

  • #1 Highest Increase in Personal Income in 2019

  • #3 Best State Overall for Business, Entrepreneurs and Startups

City

In Denver

  • #1 Most-Searched Location for Out-of-State Movers

  • Acknowledged by Forbes as 1 of 10 cities best-positioned to recover from coronavirus

  • 3rd Hottest Job Market

  • 4th Most Popular City Among Millennial Homebuyers

  • 5th Fastest Growing City in the U.S.

Local

Startup Scene

  • 959 Total Startups

  • 6,069 Startup Employees

  • 9.4% of Denver Businesses are Startups

  • 6.3 Employees per Startup on Average

ReadY for Recovery

Picture1.png

Entrepreneur Highlights

SCH_6155_edited.jpg

False Ego, Jevon Taylor

During the pandemic, we are all looking for ways to positively impact our communities and support businesses with a bigger meaning behind them. Meet False Ego, a Denver-made street wear company that stands for so much more than fashion. The man who founded the company, Jevon Taylor, was a college basketball player, then graphic designer, and has now rolled his passion and creativity into the community-based clothing line called False Ego. “I think our ‘false ego’ is something that makes it hard for us to connect with anything outside of ourselves," Taylor said. “And, this is what the work is all about. It's about really connecting with the world around us, and people around us, the environment.” Read the full article here.

LivaLittle + Pendulum Productions, JD Gonzales

After working out of my tiny downtown apartment producing videos for 6 months, I happened to step into the Commons out of curiosity of who my neighbors were. Little did I know they would become a community of great friends and the new home for my business Pendulum Productions (a high end video production company). Using the resources at the Commons, I was able to grow my business with trust and certainty that the people I surrounded myself with would support my endeavor in any way possible without any malicious intent. I've chosen to give back to the Commons community by facilitating a cohort in the Co-Starters program, providing a studio space and video production services for Denver Startup Week, filming with other companies in the space, and by regularly introducing new people into the community. 

SoulNia, Kamiya Willoughby and Tess Hurlburt

Kamiya Willoughby and Tess Hurlburt seemingly never stop moving. Willoughby attends school and works part-time, while Hurlburt works full-time in the field of physical therapy—on top of jointly owning and running SoulNia, their vegetarian soul food catering company that challenges stereotypes while celebrating that historic cuisine. Even with such wildly busy schedules, married partners Willoughby, 25, and Hurlburt, 28, always make time to give back to their community. On June 22, they’re happy to do so via a pop-up dinner at the Bindery in support of Colorado’s black and LGBTQA communities. Proceeds from the event, which are being matched by the Bindery’s owner and chef Linda Hampsten Fox, will be donated to Black Lives Matter 5280 and the Center on Colfax. Read full article here.

A SPOTLIGHT ON CO.STARTERS

The Commons CO.Starters program is a 10-week, resource-rich mentorship program designed to accelerate your business. Through this program, entrepreneurs are able to refine business pitches and share your ideas with a community of entrepreneurs, receive pro bono legal assistance from the attorneys at Husch Blackwell, have professional headshots taken, lean on a network of 150+ incredible business owners, and more. This program went virtual in 2020, and served 40 entrepreneurs and their businesses through the many phases of re-opening and closing.

Brad%20Kuhn_edited.jpg

Bradley Kuhn | Finding Nectar Nursery

3.png

Nikkie Burnett | TasteLifeNutrition.com

Courtney Lanctot | The Unpopular Black

_X2A2997_edited.jpg

Brenda Greer | PEEKaMeet

Brie Zoller | Brie Z Operations

2.png

R. Tony Smith | Denver's Cupid

Adam Salzman | AdventureEXP

Chad Hadersbeck | MicTrainer

SUPPORTERS & PARTNERS

Led by the Downtown Denver Partnership, The Commons serves as the hub of Denver’s entrepreneurship community but we don't stand alone. The collaboration of diverse stakeholders sustains the spirit of innovation that has always defined our city. 

 

We continue to mobilize a diverse ecosystem and work to amplify the impact of like-minded community builders to better support Denver’s entrepreneurial community.

The Commons’ Resource Compass, a consortium of 110 mission-aligned organizations, provides support, funding and advocacy for entrepreneurs. The Resource Compass supports The Commons’ goals to deliver effective programs at scale while amplifying the impact of other network programs, and by facilitating collaborations that benefit underserved entrepreneurs. The Commons is working to expand the Resource Compass to create a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem with accessible resources, with a goal of engaging 250 network partners and ensuring those resources are visible. 

 

In 2020, over 300 partner organizations fostered innovation and entrepreneurship by offering business education, assistance and training, inspiration, empowerment and community to The Commons, offering free, mission-aligned programming an average of 37 times every month.

The Commons growing list of diverse Denver’s community builders

  • 5-Minute Classes

  • Asian Chamber of Commerce

  • Built In Colorado

  • C-TRAC (Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization)

  • Catalyst Health-Tech Innovation

  • City and County of Denver Surplus

  • City/County of Denver/Office of Economic Development - Strategic Investments

  • Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce

  • Colorado Creative Industries

  • Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF)

  • Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT)

  • Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce

  • Community Economic Development (CED) Clinic

  • Converge Denver

  • Creative Density Coworking

  • Deep Space Workplace & Event Center

  • Denver Excise and Licenses

  • Denver Founders

  • Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce

  • Denver Metro SBDC

  • Denver Office Of Economic Development (OED)

  • Denver Public Library

  • Denver South Economic Development Partnership

  • Denver Startup Week

  • Downtown Denver Partnership

  • ELEVATE coSPACE

  • Enterprise Coworking

  • Epicentral Coworking

  • FANUM

  • Galvanize

  • Global Accelerator Network

  • Go Code Colorado

  • Green Spaces

  • INDUSTRY Denver

  • Joining Vision and Action

  • Manufacturer's Edge

  • Mi Casa Resource Center

  • Mile High Young Professionals

  • Modworks

  • Patriot Boot Camp

  • Posner Center for International Development

  • Rocky Mountain Indian Chamber of Commerce (RMICC)

  • Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Urban Cooperative Development Program

  • Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute (RMMFI)

  • Rocky Mountain U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

  • SCORE Denver

  • Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship

  • Small Business Majority

  • Startup Colorado

  • Steno | Where You Work

  • Techstars

  • The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network Colorado

  • Thrive Workplace

  • TiE Rockies

  • U.S. Small Business Administration, Colorado District Office

  • Uncharted

  • University of Colorado - Entrepreneurial Law Clinic

  • Women Who Startup

  • Women's Bean Project

  • World Trade Center

  • Commons on Champa

  • Kalen Jesse Photography

  • TechStars

  • The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network Colorado

  • Thrive Workplace

  • TiE Rockies

  • U.S. Small Business Administration, Colorado District Office

  • Uncharted

  • University of Colorado - Entrepreneurial Law Clinic

  • Women Who Startup

  • Women's Bean Project

  • World Trade Center

  • Commons on Champa

  • Kalen Jesse Photography

  • TechStars

  • Green Hat Web Solutions

  • Bobo's Oat Bars

  • Futurebound

  • https://cfoshare.org/

  • 10.10.10

  • Denver Community Credit Union

  • Dream Spring

  • Colorado Lending Source

  • Meyer Law

  • WeWork Labs

  • The Riveter

  • Wellness Tech Plus

  • Confluence Denver

  • Founder Institute

  • MergeLane

  • Rockies Venture Club

  • Axiur Accounting

  • CO.STARTERS at the Commons

  • CreativeMornings/Denver

  • Fitzsimons Innovation Community

  • StartOut

  • TechrIoT Powered by Innovation Pavilion

  • Wakeen Design Co.

  • 1 Million Cups Denver

  • General Assembly Denver

  • LegalPilot

  • Almace Networks

  • Massive Pockets

  • Inukshuk Online

  • CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP)

  • PSP Compass Solutions

  • The Riveter

  • To-Go Denver

  • Colorado Artist Relief Fund

  • So Jazzy & Co.

  • Good Startups

  • Zebulon Solutions

  • Uncharted

  • She's Independent LLC

  • Creality Inc

DENVER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & OPPORTUNITY SUPPORT

Resources

Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) offers free one-on-one business advisory appointments and workshops to the Commons community to support entrepreneurs and small businesses in meeting business goals and overcoming challenges. The advisory team features experts from government and community organizations including representatives from; DEDO, the US Patent & Trademark Office, U.S. Small Business Administration, Denver Community Credit Union, and the Colorado Enterprise Fund.

Initiatives

DEDO’s monthly ‘Connect to the City’ workshops are designed to connect entrepreneurs to a diverse array of city programs and services to help them succeed. This year’s topics ranged from 5 Steps to Doing Business with Denver to Creating an Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Business, and many others. 

In response to the pandemic, DEDO partnered with Green Hat Web Solutions to launch an ongoing series of Marketing & E-Commerce webinars to address the diverse needs of entrepreneurs looking to start up and/or pivot to an online model.

Success Stories

These clients were helped by DEDO services through The Commons:  Spin-ups (Chad Lorenson), Brayniacs LLC (Cyndi Bray), Denver’s Cupid (R. Tony Smith), 4 My Child LLC (Fanta Dansoko).

Growing Businesses.

These growing businesses have taken part in The Commons Entrepreneurial Journey programs and are in varying phases of starting and growing their businesses with support from The Commons and Commons Community.

110 West Group LLC

52Eighty Entertainment

6onethree

Accucode 3D /The 3D Printing Store

Acuity IP, LLC

Adventurable

Ahead Wind

Ahlborg Acquisitions, LLC

Akasha Be Well Skincare

applied Medical Device Institute

Arapahoe Libraries

Arcturem

Ascension Energetics

Astral Organica

Atomos Space

Avaya

AZA Consulting

Balanced Blends

Ball Aerospace

Becoming Boutique

Between the Words

Bigshowmechanical

BioCoTech Americas

Black Opal Inc

BLOCK21 Fitness

Braaps

Brand Secrets and Strategies

BRAVE Life Venture

Breathe Real Estate

Buenas Causes Studio

Burnett Consulting

Canna 100 Capital

Capital Studio

Catch Happiness and Sustainable Three

Center for Entrepreneurship Education & Development

Center on Rural Innovation

Centerspike Business Services

CFO Business Advisors LLC

CFOshare

Chrysalis Partners

Cika media Inc

CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen)

Clean Water, Inc.

ClearPivot

Cloudbeds

Colonial Benefit Group

Colorado Technology Association

Colson Quinn

Connect

Connect My Cause

Cray Burroughs

Creality

CU-Boulder

Cultivated Synergy

Dakota Resources

Defudger

Del Barco Associates

Denver Metro Small Business Development Center

Denver South

Denver’s Cupid

Devon Victoria Communications, Inc.

Dog Training Elite Denver

Dogwood Consulting

Dr Auto Spa Custom Detail & Ceramic

Coatings

Dynacloud

Eden-Harris Group

Elebase

ElleRate

Em & El Organics

Equity Labs, University of Denver

EquityZen, Sliced Investing, J.P. Morgan (Former)

Established

Exploryst

ExpressSense

Fashion Design Center Denver

Finding Nectar Nursery LLC

Firm Awesome, LLC

FIXY Makeup

Flexible Fitness

FSB Nutrition and Training, LLC

Fuckup Nights Denver

GeoWize, LLC

Global Entrepreneurship Network

Good Turn Digital

Gord CompressionGreen Hat Web Solutions

GreenRoom Inc

GRID Impact

Guest House

Healthcare Price Tool

Helping Habit

Hero Foods

Hi-C Battery LLC

Hive Network (flywithhive.com)

HomeAdvisor

Ideas By Nature

ideasize, LLC

iDenver.net

Illinois JeepHers

Innovative Lighting Consultants (ILC)

Institute for Entrepreneurship, College of Business, CSU

Intentional Marketing and Communications

Inukshuk Online

Invest Success

James J. Hill Center

JeanGinzburg.com

Just Experiment

Just Plain Smart Ideas, LLC

KaizenRhino Solutions International Consultancy

Kanitha Studio LLC

Karissa Rund LLC

KDJ Communication

Kiewit Building Group Inc.

KP Strategies

Ladies of Justice, Business Solutions

Lansr Marketing

Laporte Immunotherapeutics, Inc.

Lashing Out Loud

Launch Lab

Launch Legal

Leadership Kiosk, LLC

Life Balance Company

Life From The Summit, Mindfulness & Coaching

Loadup Pup

Magnify Consulting LLC

Maine SBDC

Mainspring Innovation, LLC

Manos Soap Co.

Masheenist

Metro State University & University of Colorado

Meyer Law Ltd.

mFactor Consulting

Mic Trainer

MindBeWell LLC

Mosaic Colorado LLC

Mosaiceye LLC

Mothershed Design Company

Movenet

Moye White LLP

Mozilla Corporation

MPW Strategies

MyHomeFix, LLC

Navigant

Nevada Small Business Development Center

Nimbus Secure LLC

Noble One

Nymbl Science

One Grand Video

OneKindCup, LLC.

Orbital Micro Systems, AcroOptics

OTG Consulting

Otisa Eads LLC

Ouro Mobility

Oxlo

Paired

Parker-Anderson Enrichment

Patents Integrated

PEEKaMEET

Phillinnova

Pioneer Venture Group

Podcast Allies

Polly Languages

Posner Center for International Development

Power of Dreams, Llc

Prismetric

Project X-ITE at the University of Denver

Push FORWARD Development Ltd.

Qualcomm

Quizlet

RedoxRehabilitative Rhythms

Rep Fitness

ResultsLab

RMI Insights

Robin.io

Rockies Venture Club

Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute

Rocky Mountain Regional USPTO

Root Chemistry

RoxBox Containers

Rubicon Law

Sage Law Group

SAMII

SCKART

Shapiro Advisors

She's Independent

Shiner Studios LLC

Silicon Legal Strategy, APC

Simple Innovations & Solutions

Simple Switch

Skookum

SmartCapital

Smedley Events

Social Enterprise MSP

Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation

Spark

Spectrabotics

Spin Ups

sporforya.com

SpringTime Ventures

Stratton Ventures

Stuff

Summit Accessibility

SWFT

Swim and Tennis Creative Consulting

Sydor Instruments

SyNAPS

Teacher Tech Advisory

TEAM EEI

Tellusbox, Inc

The CORE

The Digital Edge, LLC

The Goat & Pig

The GreenSmith

The Hollines Group

The House of Stewart

The Lobbie

The Purpose Collective

The SeedCore Foundation

The Tuggerson Group

The Unpopular Black

The Village Institute

The Working Well

TheCultureBiz

Therapeasy

Third Sight Strategies

TisM4

Toolaloo

Transformative Coaching

TrueSpace

tumble HAUS, LLC

TurningScience

Undestructable

University of Denver

Uplight

Utah Valley Business Resource Center

UX Magnet

Vegas Chamber

Ventcenters, Inc.

Venture Partners at CU Boulder

Verve Integrative

Veteran Ventures Capital

Waggit

Warkentin LLC

Wearrative

Weber State University

Wellness Tech Plus, Inc.

WEtech Alliance

William Lee PC

WithLovebyECO

Women of Denver

WorldDenver

www.briezoperations.com

You’re Golden

Zayo Group

Zebulon Solutions

Zoptic

ZYPWORK