by Tom Clark

On August 26-27, Colorado will open its doors to Rocky Mountain inventors, venture funders, startups, and tech entrepreneurs. This will be the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s (OEDIT) third year of bringing ideas, innovation, money, technology, and people together to grow and expand the innovation impulse that’s been building in the Centennial State over the past decade. It’s called the COIN Summit, sponsored by the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN).

In the 10 years from 2001- 2010, the challenging period spanning two recessions, Colorado establishments created not one single net-new job. Yes, that’s right – zero. Despite the gloom, Metro Denver added 130,000 new jobs during that 10-year period. How? You can attribute this to entrepreneurs and their impulse to create, invent, and innovate. Their passion is what kept Colorado’s economy moving, despite a massive pair of economic downturns.

Noting the incredible resiliency of Colorado entrepreneurs and after attending former President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative program in Chicago, Gov. John Hickenlooper and OEDIT Executive Director Ken Lund created COIN. Patterned after some of CGI’s components, COIN has developed its own rhythm and style. The two-day showcase will feature notable speakers such as GE CEO Jeff Immelt, a strong act following last year’s headliner Muhtar Kent from Coca-Cola. Clinton was so impressed with Colorado’s collaborative business and political communities that he moved CGI from Chicago to Denver for the next three years – a great affirmation of Colorado’s emergence as an innovation center.

COIN participants will hear from inspiring speakers, cutting deals, and finding themselves enraptured with the innovation occurring right here in Colorado. They will also get a copy of Colorado’s Innovation Report – a comparison of the state’s competitive position nationally.

Like the Clinton Global Initiative, the event will conclude with public promises made by participants to advance Colorado’s innovation environment and enhance our brand as a center of innovation.

Colorado has a lot to be thankful for this past year. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s satellite facility opened earlier in July, capping a successful competition with other metro areas around the country. Proximity to the USPTO offers great savings and expert help for Rocky Mountain entrepreneurs, further advancing our innovation culture. Announcements of additional international flights, including Tokyo and Panama, are expanding our market reach. Job growth is way up and wage acceleration is not far behind.

Enjoy your summer. And if you’re interested in where technology is going in Colorado, spend two days in August with us. It will be time well spent.

Tom Clark

Former CEO of Metro Denver Economic Development Council

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