Boulder is an incredible community for startups, and we’re also fortunate to be the home of the University of Colorado. CU has several programs, clubs and resources for students who are pursuing entrepreneurship, including the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, which is part of the Leeds School of Business.
Despite all the great programs and student groups, Fletcher Richman, an engineering student at CU, was frustrated about the lack of connection between the startup community and the university. He also realized that, due to a lack of space on campus, there was really no central place for all of these students to come together, collaborate and work on their ideas.
True to his entrepreneurial spirit, Fletcher set out to solve the problem. With the help of some other students and support from the Boulder community, he’s creating Spark Boulder, a non-profit student entrepreneurship center near campus. The 5,400-square-foot space is designed to be a hub of innovation that will meet the needs of entrepreneurial students at CU and act as a bridge between the university and the Boulder/Denver startup community.
The goal is for Spark Boulder to be a co-working space, incubator, gathering spot and event site. With 24-hour access, a fully catered kitchen, conference rooms, printing services, IT services and tools for developers, Spark Boulder’s mission is to help student entrepreneurs be successful. And students have done all the work to bring this vision to life, including the business plan, finances, website design, branding, marketing, and the design of the space itself.
Fletcher is hoping to open the doors in November, but that’s dependent on raising the rest of the $150,000 in sponsorship and donations needed to make it happen. Once that initial amount has been raised, Spark will run at cost through month-to-month desk rentals via PivotDesk.
Current supporters include Archer Bay, Pivotal Labs, Prototest, Metzger, DigitalOcean, AppliedTrust, the City of Boulder, and several individuals. Spark will offer various sponsorship levels and opportunities, which range from a window sticker for your business to your brand or name on a chair, a desk, or even a conference room. Sponsorship can also be customized and may include sponsoring specific student startups or entrepreneurs working in the space.
As we continue to make Boulder into a better and better place for startups, it’s well worth investing in the future–the entrepreneurial students right in our own backyard. Spark aims to offer a connecting point for those students and our community. To find out more and keep up on the latest developments, visit the Spark site. And if you’re interested in sponsorship opportunities, you can get in touch with the Spark team here.