Boulder, Colorado: A Natural Place for Startups

According to the latest American Community Survey data, cited in the Huffington Post, Boulder, Colorado is the brainiest city in the country. The Daily Beast cites a survey by Business Week that names Boulder as the nation’s best place for startups.

It’s not just brains. When you read about Boulder, you feel the drive, ambition and the young spirit in the culture of the town. Boulder is aimed toward the future. It has a boldness about it, a true Western American optimism. The city of Boulder is often referred to as “The People’s Republic of Boulder.” It is a city of dreamers, “25 square miles surrounded by reality.”

Boulder is a natural breeding ground for entrepreneurs, a place of independent initiatives and independent thinking. The city became the first in the United States to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation by a direct vote of the people, and one of the first cities to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. It was one of the first cities to enact a smoking ban that includes bars. The city is creating a reduced carbon-focused municipality-owned power system. Its local businesses have an intense focus on sustainability.

This region of the Rocky Mountains foothills, just Northwest of Denver has a long history of attracting the young and creative, from the days the hippies were drawn into the mountains in the 1960s. The City of Boulder (with its suburbs) now has a population of around one quarter of a million souls. The University of Colorado enriches the city’s cultural life. Boulder is repeatedly named top ranked in quality of life, health, education and art.

Whereas the overwhelming preponderance of startup businesses in the United States are small sustaining businesses like trades, service businesses and stores, startup business in Boulder tend to be “scalable” startups. They are the kinds of startups that rely on risk-taking investors who dream of making it big. These are technically sophisticated professionals busy writing software and building cloud-based services. That’s the kind of community Boulder is.

About the Author:
Andrew leads the TEDxBoulder, Boulder Startup Week and Ignite Boulder efforts and has worked in startups for ten years. He blogs about startups, bootstrapping, events and triathlon at and you can follow him on twitter here.

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