The Estes Park Economic Development Corporation (Estes Park EDC) in conjunction with consultant ATP Management conducted a series of 13 public and small group meetings between May 3 and 5 to obtain input and feedback about planning for an Estes Park business incubator. Meetings were held at the Town of Estes Park Board Room, Via Bicycle Café, Marys Lake Lodge and the Estes Park EDC.
Project leader Kyle Cox, Managing Director of ATP Fund, a seed-stage venture capital firm based in Austin, Texas described the results of their prior outreach and research and discussed their preliminary recommendations with local entrepreneurs, business mentors and potential angel investors. Cox stressed that “we want to design an incubator program that serves the needs of both existing businesses and potential startups.”
Recommendations from their presentation include:
· Continue to support and work with a newly formed Estes Park Angel Investor group;
· Type: develop a virtual incubator program, not a physical space for offices;
· Economic Model: the incubator should be organized as a not-for-profit entity; grants can be especially helpful in the first three years;
· Operational Model: the incubator should partner aggressively with existing Colorado organizations to deliver value to Estes Park clients;
· Governance Model: the incubator director should be part of the Estes Park EDC staff and there should be separate board to govern the incubator with representation from experts outside the Estes Valley as well as key community members.
Mike Freeman, CEO of the Fort Collins-based Innosphere business incubator, is part of the project team, along with: Isaac Barchas, head of the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI); Ryan Field, research manager at ATI and lead researcher at LiveOak Venture Partners; and Jamie Rhodes, who founded the Central Texas Angel Network and the Association of Texas Angel Networks.
The full business plan will be presented at public meetings from June 7 to 9. If you would like to receive a copy of the PowerPoint presentation, contact Estes Park EDC Communications and Business Development Adam Shake at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in being an Angel Investor or would like to learn more, please visit www.meetup.com/Estes-Park-Angel-Investing-Meetup. To sign up or learn more about the Estes Park Startup Meetup, visit www.meetup.com/Estes-Park-Startup-Meetup.
The Incubator project is being funded with the third and final portion of a financial award to the Town of Estes Park and the Estes Park EDC +from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.