Press Releases


Boulder Enjoys Continued Recognition as a Center of Entrepreneurship

Inc. Magazine Joins Others in citing Boulder’s Innovation Leadership

December 4, 2013—Capping a year in which Boulder, Colorado and the surrounding region have gained continued recognition as a center of innovation and entrepreneurship, Inc. magazine featured Boulder as “the most entrepreneurial city in America” in its December 2013/January 2014 issue. Earlier, in 2013, Boulder was cited by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as number one in high-tech “startup density”. The study also noted the Front Range region in general as a great area for starting and growing businesses.

“Boulder has been building itself into an epicenter for creative people and organizations,” stated John Tayer, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber. “In recent years we've received a lot of recognition for our leadership, and we are continuing our efforts to maintain that momentum with the Innovation Blueprint 3.0.”

See what Inc. and others are saying: Check out our new infographic on Boulder’s innovation leadership story.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  - Tuesday, May 28th -

Neal Lurie, VP, Boulder Chamber



Boulder Chamber Unveils 'Innovation Blueprint 3.0'
Collaborative vision for 'Team Boulder' to advance the region's global leadership
in innovation and build a long-term competitive advantage

BOULDER, May 28, 2013 - The Boulder Chamber and a diverse group of business and community leaders rolled out a comprehensive plan today to help the region build a long-term competitive advantage and fuel economic vitality. The collaborative vision, known as the 'Innovation Blueprint 3.0', was unveiled during a special celebration on Tuesday at Chautauqua Park and provides a new framework to strengthen Boulder's role as a hub of innovation.
The innovation plan is being touted by an expanding group of leaders known as 'Team Boulder' and includes John Tayer, President of the Boulder Chamber, Boulder Mayor Matt Applebaum, and other leaders from local businesses, industry associations, environmental groups, the government, and the local community. The diverse group underscores the broad-based support for building on Boulder's legacy of innovation as a key part of the region's economy.

Standing in a sea of signs that read 'Team Boulder: Look what we can do', local leaders highlighted past accomplishments in building a surprisingly diverse economy and laid out the opportunity ahead.

"Boulder is increasingly recognized as a global innovation leader," said John Tayer of the Boulder Chamber. "We need to work together to build on our community's strengths and to foster the entrepreneurial thinking and creative problem solving that can keep moving our community forward. This is a shared vision that will plant the seeds for an even stronger innovation ecosystem and thriving economy - not just for today, but to benefit generations to come."

Local elected officials attended the rollout event at Chautauqua Park and shared their views of the opportunity ahead.
"From land use and urban design to economic vitality, Boulder is a community of innovators," said Mayor Matt Applebaum, "it's one of our great assets and we need to continue to cultivate the creative thinking and collaborative efforts that contribute to our community's success."

Organizers of the Innovation Blueprint 3.0 launched a new website to invite participation from the community to spur local innovation. Business leaders and residents can sign up to join Team Boulder and to stay informed at: This free resource will help community members get connected to this collaborative initiative and to share their own ideas.
The Innovation Blueprint 3.0 rolled out on Tuesday has five primary components:

1) Strengthen the Business Innovation Network:
Expand mentoring and training programs for entrepreneurs, female and minority business leaders, facilitate cross-industry collaboration, and develop talent among our university student population.

2) Advance Innovative Policy Solutions:
Stimulate roundtable problem-solving between business, government and others to tackle complex local and global challenges, recognizing that the strength of our local economy is a critical component that makes Boulder such a special place.

3) Promote Boulder Innovation:
Broadcast Boulder's innovation leadership to national and global markets and highlight business success stories that will draw additional talent to our community and spark new products and ideas.

4) Increase Innovation Investment:
Attract global capital resources that propel local innovation and strengthen the network of local venture capital firms, angel investors and other industry investors.

5) Build Innovation Infrastructure:
Create the spaces for innovation to thrive including an inspiring Business Innovation HQ building to convene global thought leaders, local business leaders, and promote cross-industry collaboration; and a Business Innovation Conference Center that will attract targeted industries and add creative energy, all while generating valuable conference business.

The Innovation Blueprint 3.0 recognizes that Boulder's diverse economy stands firmly on a foundation built by innovation pioneers. Boulder's first wave of innovation flourished decades ago through leading edge thinkers from IBM, the Federal Laboratories, and the University of Colorado. The second wave was spurred by a technology boom in the 1990s and early 2000s that expanded Boulder's leadership in software, data storage, bioscience, and aerospace, along with the growth we saw in other sectors, like natural products and the outdoor industry.

"Boulder is now entering a third wave of innovation that is powering an explosion of entrepreneurship and economic opportunity," added Tayer. "From e-commerce to cleantech to tourism, Boulder has become a destination and a brand. This Innovation Blueprint 3.0 is a collaborative effort to help the community capitalize on this third wave and to advance Boulder's global innovation leadership."

About The Boulder Chamber:
For more than 100 years, the nonprofit Boulder Chamber has been the region's flagship business support and advocacy organization. The organization helps promote business success, influence policy, and connect business leadership to build a smart, thriving economy.





Angelique Espinoza
Public Affairs Manager
(303) 938.2077


Jane Lewis
Information Specialist


President & Chief Executive Officer Announced

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John Tayer appointed CEO of the Boulder Chamber


     The Boulder Chamber has hired John L. Tayer as its new President and Chief Executive Officer.  Although Mr. Tayer will be new to the CEO role of the Chamber, he is not new to leadership positions in public policy and advocacy of commerce in the Boulder market.  Mr. Tayer served over a decade at Corden Pharma Colorado (formerly Roche Colorado Corporation) in various executive public affairs and community relations positions and is a former member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors as well as a former Board Chair.  Prior to Corden, Mr. Tayer worked directly for the City Manager of Boulder as its Director of Policy Development and Intergovernmental Affair Coordinator.  Mr. Tayer began his career in Washington as a Congressional Aide to U.S. Senator Brock Adams.  Mr. Tayer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law.  Mr. Tayer also presently serves as a Director of the Regional Transportation District, representing the Boulder area. 


Mr. Tayer was selected for the CEO role as a result of a nationwide executive search that included several local candidates along with established chamber executives from 4 states.  A 5-person Search Committee was led by Gerry Agnes of Elevations Credit Union and worked with Eric Peterson of Waverly Partners, a retained executive search firm.


      “John has a rich history of great education and leadership in the Boulder community” said Betty Artes, Board Chair of the Chamber.  “The Board is delighted that John will serve as the Chamber’s new CEO to help advance the interest of our membership, while enhancing the lives of our community.” 


     Mr. Tayer commented, “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to help lead the Boulder Chamber.  I intend to work in partnership with the Chamber’s board of directors, membership, and staff, to vigorously promote the success of Boulder’s diverse businesses and advance our community’s economic interests.  In this way, we will uphold the Boulder Chamber’s proud heritage as a leading contributor to all that makes Boulder such a special place to live and work.”  Mr. Tayer will begin his new position in early December 2012.


            The Boulder Chamber is a dynamic organization comprised of more than 1,800 businesses that help shape the economy, promote community awareness, and set the pace for the future of Boulder County and beyond.  It accomplishes its mission with 10 staff leaders with an operating budget of $1.2 million.  The Boulder Chamber is an umbrella organization that domiciles the Boulder Economic Council, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Small Business Development Center that adds 12 more staff and $1.8 million of additional revenue to the combined organization.

Membership Event Breaks Records

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Press Release

September 27, 2012 - 1:00 p.m.

Contact: Angelique Espinoza, Public Affairs Manager, Boulder Chamber - 303.938.2077


Community Leaders Help Boulder Chamber Break Records

Over 130 Boulder Chamber volunteers are now in the home stretch of a record breaking membership event that has brought in over 225 new members and $92K in revenue in 36 hours – making it the largest membership event of its kind in Colorado history. By 3:27 p.m. today, the deadline for applications, the teams hope to break $100K.  “This event has been so successful because it was founded on the relationships that exist within Boulder’s dynamic business community,” said Interim CEO, Clif Harald, who is also Executive Director of the Boulder Economic Council, “and we started with a strong base of about 1530 members, which is almost twice as many as any other community of our size.”


Leaders from throughout the Boulder community chaired competitive teams, engaging their networks to recruit team captains who in turn activated their networks to recruit teams. Team members from all levels, many of them in themed costumes representing their team color, attended one of four three hour shifts on Tuesday and Wednesday. They received an enthusiastic reception from Chamber staff and a high energy orientation from Jimmy Caruso of Your Chamber Connection, the consulting firm who runs similar events across the country. Volunteers reached out to their business colleagues with the Chamber’s value proposition at tables strewn with cowbells, refreshments, and their own rolodexes and computers.


Chairs from diverse industries, from non-profits to real estate and from solo-preneurs to the CU Athletics Director showed true leadership, many of them staying through multiple shifts to work alongside their teams. Chairs and captains were help accountable for their team members’ infringements such as ringing cellphones and talking during the presentation by being called on to do pushups on the spot. Scott Ziemba, the Chamber’s Director of Business Development, credits the outstanding efforts of these leaders and the Chamber staff team for the event’s success, and says it goes beyond the new membership numbers. “Even people who didn’t join are really hearing the Chamber’s message. Some people got multiple calls from volunteers telling them firsthand how the Chamber supports community, economic and business vitality, fosters connections and relationship building, and helps make Boulder a great place to live, work and play.”


The event will culminate in a Roast Celebration Party at A Spice of Life Event Center, where awards such as the “Godfaddah/Godmuddah,” Most Enthusiastic, The Whiner award and others will be handed out. Press welcome. For photos of the event, visit the Chamber’s Facebook page at


Susan Graf to Leave Chamber


        Susan Graf, President and CEO of the Boulder Chamber, has announced her resignation after more than eight years at the helm.  During her tenure, Graf has led the founding of the Boulder Innovation Center (now the Innovation Center of the Rockies), CO-LABS statewide coalition of federally funded laboratories, the ActiveBoulder outdoor industry group and the Boulder 2140 young professionals group. 

        Under her leadership the Boulder Chamber adopted a comprehensive advocacy program, an active global business networking group, and developed a health insurance plan for chamber members.  In 2010, the Boulder Chamber became a founding member of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy and Ms. Graf continues to serve on their national Advisory Council. 

         In her collaborative style, she built connections between the city, university, non-profits and the business community.  While Graf will complete her service to the Boulder Chamber on May 18, she plans to remain active in the Boulder business community.
Contact: Angelique Espinoza
Public Affairs Manager, Boulder Chamber

Boulder Microloan Fund Offers New Loans to Small Businesses

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011   


Clif Harald, Boulder Economic Council, 303-442-1044

Liz Hanson, Economic Vitality Coordinator, 303-441-3287

Patrick von Keyserling, Media Relations, 303-441-4959

Boulder Microloan Fund Offers New Loans to Small Businesses

A collaboration of public and private partners announced a new round of loan capital for small businesses in Boulder through the successful Boulder Microloan Fund.  First offered in 2009 to respond to shortages of capital available to small businesses in the Boulder market, the first round of Microloan Fund capital was fully loaned out.  Additional capital has now been raised to expand the Fund’s capacity to make small business loans.

The City of Boulder, FirstBank, and the Colorado Enterprise Fund are contributing a total of $250,000 to expand the Fund to a total of $575,000. The city’s portion was $100,000. The Boulder Microloan Fund was established with contributions from the City of Boulder, Wells Fargo Bank, US Bank, First National Bank of Colorado and Colorado Enterprise Fund.

The Fund extends loans of up to $50,000 to businesses and nonprofit organizations with annual gross revenues of less than $2 million per year.  Loans may be used for a variety of purposes, but the focus is on providing general working capital. As loans get paid back, the capital is available to lend out again to other businesses.  Since its inception, about $180,000 has been repaid and loaned out again to eight additional businesses.

“Expanding the capacity of the Boulder Microloan Fund will enable us to broaden our impact,” said Ceyl Prinster, president and CEO of the Colorado Enterprise Fund, a nonprofit lending organization that manages the Boulder Microloan Fund.  “So far, the Fund has benefited a wide variety of Boulder businesses, including a restaurant, ice cream maker, a book publisher and a childcare provider, among others.”

As one of the early Fund success stories, Boulder Ice Cream, used its loan to purchase equipment.  “The Microloan Fund loan enabled us to buy a homogenizer that we had previously been renting,” said President of Boulder Ice Cream Scott Roy.  “This reduced our cash needs for this equipment by 50 percent.”

According to Founder and Publisher of Paradigm Publishers Dean Birkenkamp, , another successful loan recipient, “Funds from Boulder Microloan Fund and Colorado Enterprise Fund helped our company develop several additional college textbooks that have now been published and are being used by students and professors nationwide.  This helped sustain Paradigm Publishers' growth in a challenging economy.”

 “This Microloan Fund is something we agree is needed in the community,” said Boulder President of FirstBank Jim Hall,. “Banks are still cautious right now and we feel there are a number of good businesses that are just slightly outside our parameters that could access this capital to stabilize operations or take advantage of new opportunities to grow.  As businesses build their financial track record and credit standing, they can move to more traditional loans.” 

Boulder’s City Manager Jane Brautigam  stated that this is an important element of the city’s Economic Vitality Program.  “The city is contributing to this fund to help stabilize and grow Boulder’s small business community,” said Brautigam. 

According to the Boulder Economic Council, the City of Boulder has over 6,500 employers, of which approximately 75 percent have 10 or fewer employees.  The Fund requires that 80 percent of the dollars be loaned to businesses or nonprofits with their primary offices located in the city of Boulder.

“The successes of the first round of the Microloan Fund encouraged us to continue supporting small businesses in Boulder this way,” said Economic Vitality Coordinator for the City of Boulder Liz Hanson.

The city’s Economic Vitality Program includes business incentives programs and the Flexible Rebate Program, which is available to local primary employers expanding and/or relocating within Boulder.

For more information or to apply for a loan, contact Lewis Hagler of the Colorado Enterprise Fund at 720-473-4055 or  The Small Business Development Center at the Boulder Chamber is available to provide counseling and classes to assist businesses with effective financial management.  The Boulder Economic Council provides program coordination, recruitment of contributors and marketing support. Colorado Enterprise Fund is a nonprofit community development financial institution that provides loans and capacity-building support to businesses across the State of Colorado. 

For more information about the city’s Economic Vitality Program, go to, click on "Business," or call Liz Hanson at 303-441-3287.


Boulder Facts: City Population: 102,800 | County Population: 298,685 | Founded: 1858 | Elevation: 5,430 ft.

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