A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of accepting a $6,000 grant from the Startup Colorado Community Fund on behalf of House of Genius Boulder. I thought I'd share what the process was like to help out those of you interested in similarly funding your startup community event or organization.
The Community Fund is "on a mission to assist entrepreneurs in Colorado leading their startup communities - with resources to amplify community growth and engagement." They're looking to back an organization that:
- Focuses on driving entrepreneurship and innovation
- Puts entrepreneurs first
- Is inclusive
- Engages the entire entrepreneurial stack
- Is Colorado-centric
- Has the intent of becoming sustainable.
The application itself was a simple text form which took 15 minutes or so to complete. After doing so I had the option to invite others to provide a recommendation and/or to show support on Facebook to help build our case.
A few weeks after submitting our application we were informed by email and phone that House of Genius would be awarded one of the two inaugural grants along with 1 Million Cups Denver. I was asked to accept the grant during a Startup Colorado event as part of Denver Startup Week, which was a great opportunity for me to speak about House of Genius in front of 100+ people from the community.
The final details I had to provide as a follow-up were also simple: a short written summary about House of Genius and how it meets the criteria bulleted above, along with the organization's EIN and address. The grant is being routed through the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado and will arrive shortly. It was that easy.
For House of Genius Boulder, the Community Fund grant will go an incredibly long way. The funds will fuel roughly a year's worth of our monthly activity, which brings together twenty or so volunteers from the business community to help three entrepreneurs move forward with what they're working on.
More importantly, it does two less obvious things for us:
- it frees our team from having to chase sponsor dollars, giving us more time to focus on making Boulder the standard by which other House of Genius cities around the world are measured
- it has put House of Genius on the radar of the grant committee members, an active and influential group of entrepreneurs, investors, and community leaders here in Colorado and beyond
For any of you leading an event or organization that supports the startup community in Colorado, I highly recommend looking into the Community Fund as a resource. With $200,000 committed to the fund and a rolling application process, you should apply now.
Thank you to the grant committee and David Bennett, my main point of contact with Startup Colorado - the Community Fund is an incredible resource.
If you've got questions about the fund or the application process, I'll do my best to answer them in the comments!