Top States For Business 2013

Move Over Silicon Valley, Colorado Wants Your Startups

Brent Handler, Founder and CEO, Inspirato
Scott Cramer | E+ | Getty Images

Denver is not only the place I call home, it is also where I have chosen to found and build two companies over the last 10 years. My most recent venture is luxury destination club Inspirato (which I co-founded in 2010).

Why are so many entrepreneurs coming to Colorado? Well, the reality is that Colorado is currently one of the most attractive and lucrative places to do business, particularly if you are launching, running or growing a start-up. In fact Built In Denver's 2012 Colorado Startup Report showed that last year in Colorado (primarily in Denver and Boulder), 122 start-ups launched and collectively raised over $502 million.

While we may still look like a nascent start-up market compared to Silicon Valley, Colorado is becoming an increasingly fruitful environment for innovation, and the Mile High City is now being duly recognized as one of the best places to do business in the country.

There are a wide range of reasons for this, but I've landed on three major components that I think most significantly contribute to its start-up friendly environment: a young, energetic, and educated workforce, a real sense of work-life balance, and a supportive, engaged state government.

Any successful start-up community requires a dynamic, intelligent, and young workforce behind it. Colorado is ranked as the third- most-educated state in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, and has become an attractive destination for younger generations looking to make their mark in the business world. The sheer number of opportunities is a major reason Colorado launches a new start-up every 72 hours. It's also essential to note that Denver has become an increasingly appealing place to live.

The development of Coors Field and the transformation of nearby abandoned warehouses into lofts and restaurants have fueled a revitalization of downtown Denver, attracting new businesses and urban-inclined residents. The city's growing appeal is enhanced by a booming food culture, a dynamic craft beer scene and major improvements in public transportation. Denver's renaissance is helping Colorado evolve from a ski bum paradise to a real urban and cultural destination: The city is currently the No. 1 gainer of 25-to-34-year-olds in the U.S.