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The Innovation Center 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.

Support innovation in your community

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

Poised to open its doors soon, the Innovation Center will launch through the collaboration of the following partners:

  • FLC’s School of Business Administration (SOBA), including the new Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development major. SOBA develops 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.
  • Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE). SCAPE provides access to funding and intense mentoring to create and strengthen high growth and job-creating businesses in rural Colorado.
  • 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.
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. Addionally, the SBDC has provided 603 training events to 10,329 attendees. Over the past five years, SCAPE has provided intense mentoring to create and strengthen high growth and job creating businesses in rural Colorado. 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. SCAPE has launched 31 companies which have created 92 local jobs at above average wages. 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. SCAPE has raised over $18 million in capital and its Investment Funds are up an average of 98%. 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

Contact Steve Elias, Dean of the School of Business Administration, to get involved as a local business leader or entrepreneur. 970-247-6737 or selias@fortlewis.edu.

Contact Mark Jastorff, Vice President for Advancement, to contribute philanthropically to the Innovation Center. 970-247-7074 or majastorff@fortlewis.edu.