Mueller, Carson

On Friday, June 7, the City of Trinidad and the Center for Community Innovation (CCI) welcomed Colorado University (CU) Leeds School of Business to Brix Sports Bar and Grill for a partnership announcement and celebration. The collaboration has already led to workshops centered on entrepreneurship and local business and more is in the works.

According to organizers the “five-year partnership has been designed to provide leadership and enable the innovation necessary to build strong, locally owned businesses.” The first workshop, held the following day, was titled “Demystifying Entrepreneurship.”

At Friday’s event, Trinidad Mayor Phil Rico, was the opening speaker. CCI Executive Director Geoff Peterson, who introduced the keynote faculty from CU Leeds School of Business and the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, followed him. That faculty included lecturer Visda Carson, who specializes in strategy, entrepreneurship and operations for the center and Executive Director Professor Erick Mueller.

Mueller led a presentation titled, “What If?” “What if one could elevate entrepreneurship and turn it into a growing business?” asked Mueller. “What if one could increase business startups and create a better quality of life?”

Mueller said the goal of future workshops is to do just that. He explained that the collaboration between the city, CCI and the Leeds School of business represented a five-year commitment. The first two years of the work done will focus on building foundational tools for entrepreneurs and local businesses. The next two years are about “scale ups,” for those businesses. The fifth year of the commitment focuses on putting businesses under a microscope and focusing on dealing with the work environment and work culture.

Some breakout meetings were held last weekend as apart of CCI’s work and featured some of the first hopeful entrepreneurs who will take part in the program. Those meetings and CCI’s key areas of work, focused on:

— Business Development: This program is all about creating a regional ecosystem of support for local entrepreneurs.

— Regional Tourism Development: This topic deals with digital marketing and marketing strategies.

— Renewable Energy: Raton has seven years left on a power purchase agreement and the group intends to explore other local renewable energy options.

— High School Equivalency Testing: This group meeting is designed to help seek funding for adult education.

— Local Food System: The groups will be talking about the Raton Farmer’s Market and new leadership for the market.

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