By Brittany Cupp
Applications are now open for the 2021 Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE).
SCAPE works with start-ups and early-stage companies to help launch their next great idea to the market. SCAPE’s mission is needed now more than ever as entrepreneurs are key to economic development and with a pivot to virtual programming due to COVID-19, SCAPE can more easily reach and support entrepreneurs in southwest Colorado.
The SCAPE program is an intensive six-month accelerator that teaches entrepreneurs the science of startups. The selected cohort will learn how to scale their business with support from mentors who have extensive backgrounds in startups. Curriculum includes: customer-oriented product development, product marketing, operations and finance mentorship from experienced executive experts. The program also includes an introduction to a network of entrepreneurs in southwest Colorado with access to founders, industry partners and capital. The goal is to provide the education, skills and network for rural Colorado entrepreneurs to develop strong businesses in the region.
Applications are open to residents from the five counties comprising the Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado — Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties. The primary focus will be ventures wanting to market and compete outside the local area while remaining headquartered in southwest Colorado. A special emphasis will be given to those ventures with strong job-creating plans, capability and solutions insulated by local disasters. The deadline to apply is Jan. 15, 2021, and the program will begin in the spring.
“Our community has a tremendous mentor and investor network which enjoys helping young companies grow and expand. We encourage businesses to apply to see how our networks might help them succeed,” stated Elizabeth Marsh, SCAPE executive director.
The 2020 accelerator launched during the COVID-19 crisis, requiring a pivot to virtual programming. This provided an opportunity for flexibility in joining sessions virtually. This especially benefited regional entrepreneurs as they were able to plug into the programming without having to add drive time. Moving into 2021, SCAPE will likely host sessions in a combination of in person if possible and virtually, with classes, mentoring and pitch practices all being offered with the flexibility to connect, gain support and move through the program remotely.
To learn more, visit: www.goscape.org/apply.