DENVER — One of the biggest talking points of this presidential election is jobs, and how to create them.
We’ve heard both candidates talk about the importance of small business in America, and here in Denver, the city is making a strong push to encourage the growth of start-ups. As Project Jobs here at FOX31 continues, we wanted to take a look at local companies with innovative ideas.
Paul Washington, executive director of Denver’s Office of Economic Development, assured us it wouldn’t be hard to find such a company in the Mile High City.
“There are 26,000 businesses in Denver, and a large majority of those businesses have between zero and 25 employees,” Washington said. “So the start-up, small business community is vibrant in Denver.”
That’s why mayor Michael Hancock, and the Office of Economic Development are now looking to tap into start-ups as a way to boost the economy, and bring much needed jobs to Denver.
“Each one of us here has become captured by this pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit that we have in this city,” Hancock said. “We’re working to do everything we can to encapsulate that and leverage it.”
Hancock delivered those words to the winners of a contest the city created this year, calling on start-ups to enter their business plans for a chance to win $50,000.
They winner also received a free office space in downtown for a year, 35 hours of legal advice, 60 hours of both accounting and marketing services, as well as social media services. All said and done, the total value is well over $100,000.
Out of 150 entries, this year’s winner was AppIt Ventures. Jeff Macco is the co-founder of the company, and he happens to think he’s in very good company here in Denver.
“I think one of these days the whole country is going to be like, ‘Holy cow — Denver Colorado start-ups. Look what they’re building. Look what they’re doing,’” Macco said.
Rob Carpenter and Macco founded AppIt Ventures, which started as a smart phone app to help small businesses create business plans. So you wouldn’t think it would be a surprise they won a competition — for business plans
But apparently it was.
“Never thought we’d be standing on that stage,” Carpenter said.
After winning the $50,000, the company said it hopes to expand and, one day, manage hundreds of other apps which will translate to more jobs
Just what Denver needs.
“The real purpose of this program really wasn’t about the $50,000, or even the suite of services that came to the first prize winner,” Washington said. “We really wanted to put our main focus and celebrate the entrepreneurial community and the start-up community and I think we accomplished that.”