An Assemblage of Innovative Business, Large & Small
Thanks in large part to past proactive decisions and recruiting efforts, the Boulder area has a wide variety of businesses and industries. They include aerospace, bioscience, data storage, natural and organic products, outdoor recreation, renewable energy, software, and tourism. As the Kauffman report has pointed out, such a variety of innovative organizations is a key element in sparking spinoff activity.
A World Class Engaged University
University of Colorado Boulder offers a full range of disciplines in humanities, social sciences, physical and biological sciences, fine and performing arts, and professions. The university is one of only 34 US public research universities invited to join the prestigious Association of American Universities, and has the Rocky Mountain region’s largest library collection. Four of the university’s faculty members have received Nobel prizes and four professors have been awarded the National Medal of Science. But CU-Boulder also engages with the business community to help foster innovation. For example, its renowned Leeds School of Business Deming Center for Entrepreneurship prepares graduates to embrace key global challenges by equipping them to think like entrepreneurs, act as social innovators, and deliver as successful business leaders. And CU recently announced its new “Office of Industry Collaboration” to help bolster partnerships with businesses.
Leading Federally-Supported Laboratories
A variety of federally-supported laboratories are located in and around the City of Boulder, giving it a critical mass of research and information resources. They include:
- CIRES – Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences
- ESRL – Earth System Research Laboratory
- ITS – Institute for Telecommunications Sciences of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
- INSTAAR – Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
- JILA – (originally Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, now expanded fields)
- LASP – Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
- NCAR – National Center for Atmospheric Research
- NCDC – National Climatic Data Center
- NESDIS – National Environmental Satellite
- DGDC – National Geophysical Data Center
- NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology
- NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- NSIDC – National Snow and Ice Data Center
- NWS – National Weather Service
- SWPC – Space Weather Prediction Center
- UCAR – University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
A Highly Educated Workforce
Along with the university, Boulder is home to a topnotch K—12 school district, a community college system, the Naropa Institute, and other educational opportunities. All told, well over 2/3 of its population has a bachelor’s degree or higher; many of these people form a critical mass of especially creative individuals. In addition to being highly educated, Boulder’s workforce is known for its creativity, which spans a variety of disciplines. Richard Florida, well-known author, researcher, and founder of the Creative Class Group, has cited Boulder as a leader in startups, innovation, and creativity, saying it “…sits atop my own rankings of the nation’s most creative metros.”
Favorable Cost of Living
The cost of living in the Boulder area compares favorably with many other areas of the country, including the Silicon Valley region. In fact, recent Consumer Price Index data indicates the cost of living in the Denver-Boulder-Greeley area is lower than the US city average.
A Value of Cultural Creativity
Highly creative and entrepreneurial communities include not only mathematicians, engineers, and scientists, but also architects, designers, artists, entertainers, and others who foster new thinking and innovation. With many galleries and performance venues, Boulder exemplifies such communities, offering a variety of cultural outlets. The city hosts the Boulder Philharmonic, the Dairy Center for the Arts, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and others. In fact, Boulder has more than 30 art galleries, four museums, 32 movie and stage theaters, and an impressive variety of cultural performances and events that nourish creative endeavors.
Unparalleled Scenic Beauty
Nestled in Boulder Valley near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder offers a chance to relish nature’s wonders and participate in a variety of recreational opportunities. Boulder is widely recognized as a mecca for outdoor recreation and environmental awareness, with 45,000+ acres of open space, and more than 150 miles of public biking and hiking trails. Outside Magazine has rated Boulder at the top or among the best in America for outdoors activities and overall quality of life and work. As the Kauffman study notes, these quality-of-life factors have helped employers attract and retain valuable workers.
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Image credit: Marilyn Stevens Photography