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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Telluride Foundation


Telluride, CO

Project Name

Telluride Foundation: Seed Funding Support for Southwest Colorado


Seed Fund Support

Award Amount


Located in rural and remote southwest Colorado, this project will serve an area of over 10,000 sq. miles, approximately the size of Massachusetts. Towns within this rural region are far between, and in many cases, the closest business resource would be a Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which could be a two-hour drive away. This project will serve eight rural and frontier counties where finance, investment, and loan opportunities for emerging businesses are extremely limited.

This project compliments the Telluride Foundation’s 2015 RIS i6 grant to facilitate a strategic effort to foster commercialization and entrepreneurship within a Southwest Iinnovation Corridor (SWIC) that is working to link diverse resources and innovation to maximize economic opportunity. The project will develop and promote new and existing equity based seed funds within the WWIC. Telluride Angels and Telluride Venture Fund are two of the only early-stage investment funds in the southwest region and have helped surface high early stage investment demand, but they cannot alone meet the need or opportunity. Companies hoping to grow their businesses in smaller, remote communities have an extra burden of proof that they have access to a large enough market, resources or supplies to support their business. It is apparent that in this rural region, new and emerging businesses lack the finance resources such as early stage equity investments, available in urban areas, to grow their business.

Outcome measures include tracking through an annual survey, insights into jobs created and average salary. We know that the majority of all net job creation in the country is driven by firms less than five years old. The average salary will be an indication that we are creating new high-skilled jobs that help drive aspects of education, job training, and overall economic change within the region. Other specific activities tracked will include: total funds invested; number of companies invested in; number of companies supported, owned/founded by underrepresented populations; total invested dollars invested into companies; number of active investors.