Center for Innovation takes ideas to action

Activate your business

Make your business idea a reality leveraging the expertise of the Four Corners’ economic hub. Find mentorship from a successful business leader or put your experience to service mentoring a new entrepreneur. Collaborate with businesses and innovators from across the region, including FLC, Durango, and the Southern Ute Tribe.

Visit the Center for Innovation

Support innovation in your community

Multiply your philanthropic dollars by investing in your community’s economic growth. Building on the work of FLC’s Katz School of Business and the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center, the Innovation Center will develop local businesses and entrepreneurship through incubation, business acceleration, and workforce training.

Innovation Center has been created through the collaboration of the following partners:

  • FLC’s Katz School of Business, including the new Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development major. We develop career-ready students in an inclusive, experiential, and student-focused environment. We facilitate and strengthen our commitment to innovative business education and diverse scholarship by faculty members’ engagement in our community.
  • Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC combines information and resources from federal, state, and local governments with those of the education system and private sector to meet the specialized and complex needs of the small business community.
  • Hawk Tank business plan competitions for FLC students and alumni, as well as regional high school students. While relying on professional development and local mentors, Hawk Tank provides an opportunity for students and recent alumni to present new business plans to Durango (Four Corner) area venture capitalists, financial institutions, and business leaders and win start-up money.
  • Southern Ute Indian Tribe Entrepreneurs’ Resource Center (SERC), which is currently in development. The SERC is expected to be a non-profit 501(c)3 bringing together several resources that enhance the “entrepreneurial mindset” of the community and increase the odds of success for small business owners.
  • New Mexico State University (Arrowhead Center and Studio G). Studio G’s mission is to help students start and grow businesses. Studio G builds a community of support for student entrepreneurs and assists to make entrepreneurship a viable and sustainable career path. Founded in 2011, Arrowhead Center’s Studio G has worked with more than 3,300 student entrepreneurs. Studio G ventures have raised more than $9.8 million in investments and grants, and in the last year, those entrepreneurs hired more than 300 people. Studio G is available to students and recent alumni at 18 colleges and universities in New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado and one national laboratory. Apply here to become a member of Studio G.

Building on success

Consulting and training

In the past 10 years, the SBDC has consulted with over 2500 small business owners in 9706 sessions totaling over 13,000 hours of support. Additionally, the SBDC has provided 603 training events to 10,329 attendees. Hawk Tank provides formal training in market analysis, business law, revenue projection, cost projection, fixed assets, working capital, and business plan presentation skills.

New business starts and job creation

SBDC training and consultation sessions have resulted in 265 new business starts, 965 new jobs created, and 840 jobs retained. Hawk Tank has resulted in the creation of over 100 business plans and fully launched 3 companies.

Capital investment

The SBDC is responsible for over $75 million in capital investment and over $13 million in increased sales. Hawk Tank has awarded over $35,000 in new business seed funding to students and recent alumni.

Entrepreneurial ecosystem

The Innovation Center will allow for Durango to become an even stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem. Specifically, the occupants of the Innovation Center will facilitate: Women’s Small Business Conference, Small Business Consulting for Veterans, Entrepreneurs of the Southwest Meetups, SBA Innovate Her, Go Code Colorado, OEDIT Advanced Industry Tours, Colorado Tech Tours, Hawk Tank, Leading Edge, Startup Showcase, Introduction to QuickBooks, an Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, Internships, Consulting, Mentoring, Targeted Workshops, and more.

Get involved

To get involved as a local business leader or entrepreneur, contact:

Steve Elias, Dean
Katz School of Business


To contribute philanthropically to the Center for Innovation, contact:

Katie Nester, Director of Outreach and Donor Relations
Fort Lewis College Foundation