estes park business

Estes Park EDC Welcomes Mark Needham as a New Board Member


The Estes Park EDC welcomes Mark Needham to its Board of Directors. Mark is the new Estes Area Lodging Association (EALA) President and joined the Estes Park EDC board of directors in June of this year taking over for previous EALA President Chuck Scott.

Mark commented “We love this community. This is where we choose to be and where we want to raise our children. That’s why it’s important to me to be as involved in the community as I can and why I’m excited to represent the lodging association with the Estes Park EDC.”

Born and raised in Texas, Mark worked in the restaurant and concrete construction industries where he was actively involved in the Downtown Square group of business owners. “I got to see firsthand how a group of business owners could make a positive impact on their community,” he said. Mark is also, the Colorado Excursion Coordinator for Warriors Keep, a Texas based veterans nonprofit whose mission is to unite, empower and enhance the quality of life for veterans with the use of outdoor therapy.

Mark, his wife, Betsy, and his 3 children moved to Estes Park in 2017 when they were given the opportunity to run the property management company for Estes Park Condos. A year later, their family expanded by acquiring Black Canyon Inn. While they are a family-owned business, Mark and Betsy have expressed that they are very fortunate to retain their local staff who have become an extended family for them.

One of the things that Mark appreciates about Estes Park EDC is that it works toward helping build an economically, generationally and culturally diverse community. Mark added “Because of the beauty of the Estes Valley and Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park has traditionally had a tourism-based economy. But with that comes a responsibility to our community and families of ensuring that we have proper infrastructure, workforce housing, early childhood education and all the things a thriving community needs.”

Estes Park EDC Seeks Cohorts for its Outdoor Industry Business Incubator

The Estes Park EDC is offering the first Outdoor Industry-focused business incubator program in the United States through a partnership with Innosphere, an existing incubator program with 20 years of success.  Through this partnership, we are launching our first Outdoor Cohort.  The first quarter starts in September and takes place over 12 weeks.

The program will provide the Outdoor Cohort clients greater access to Colorado’s existing technology expertise, as well as greater access to potential outdoor industry partners. Outdoor industry clients will work with experienced advisers, peer-groups, and their program manager to develop a personalized plan around these key focus areas:

·         Capital and Finance

·         Growth Strategies

·         Business Development

·         Talent Acquisition

·         Achieving Operational Excellence

Who should apply to be in Outdoor Cohort? The outdoor industry encompasses a variety of apparel or gear for numerous outdoor activities and sports, and a wide variety of supporting businesses.  If your goal is to test and prove your potential business, grow your revenue, or scale your existing business to a larger market, consider a business incubator program. Incubator programs enhance a business’s chance of success.  The Outdoor Cohort program focusses on connecting entrepreneurs with experienced advisors and providing ongoing support to ensure they’re getting the know-how needed to reach their company milestones.

If you’d like to apply, please visit

The Outdoor Cohort is one program within the Estes Park EDC E-Center programs.  These programs serve both existing Estes Park businesses and startups seeking a larger market. We will provide access to greater resources from our region by expanding our local services.  Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins all have ranked among top cities nationally for entrepreneurs and startups.  Becoming a bigger part of Colorado’s regional entrepreneur ecosystem will be valuable for local entrepreneurs. Because of Estes Park’s immediate proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park and its access to Colorado’s Front Range, the focus of our startup programing will be on the outdoor industries.

We’ve learned a number of things through the planning process for new programming.  First, our tourism-centered economy is adapting.  Consumer tastes and buying behaviors are shifting rapidly and a number of businesses have demonstrated their desire to adapt. Second, in addition to our traditional main street businesses, there is a growing group of people engaged in businesses that either complement or exist outside of the traditional tourism-centered model.  Outdoor gear and apparel businesses, software development, marketing and design companies, and other creative, craft and fine arts businesses already exist right here in Estes Park. 

To learn more about the Estes Park EDC and the E-Center programs go to and for information on the Innosphere, go to