The Blog

Ski, Network & Learn at the First-Ever Startup Ski Summit March 27

The startup scene has exploded in Colorado’s Front Range. Now, startups and entrepreneurs are aiming higher. They have their sights set on Summit County and, in particular, Frisco. The first-ever Startup Ski Summit seeks to unite startups and entrepreneurs from around Colorado on and off the slopes in Frisco, Colo.

Why? Well, “why not” is the better question. 

Think about it. We’re combining the best that Colorado has to offer – skiing/riding + trail blazers + game-changing ideas + mind-blowing presenters and panelists – into one day, in one incredible place. If our math is right, that adds up to an inspiring, can’t-miss, gotta-be-there, dare-we-say epic day. 

So, Why Frisco?

There are a few reasons.

The first coworking space, ELEVATE coSPACE (hey, that’s us) opened in Frisco on Oct. 1, shortly after the first Startup Weekend was held in the county just down the road in Breckenridge. The second Startup Weekend event is set for April 10-12 in Frisco (and guess where the kickoff event is being held? Yep, at ELEVATE. Get your tickets: Plus, the highest Whole Foods in the country opened a few months ago. Where? Oh where? You got it, right here in Frisco. 

All of this is to say that Frisco is booming. Plus, it’s conveniently located just minutes from Copper Mountain, Keystone Resort, Breckenridge, A-Basin, even Vail. Which is why we think Frisco is THE hub of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Colorado Rockies. And why we think hosting a first-ever Startup Ski Summit to unite startups and entrepreneurs from around Colorado makes sense. 

Then there are the presenters and panelists. They’re a veritable who’s who of the Colorado startup community + the leaders in innovation in the ski/snowboard and outdoors industry. We’re honored and humbled they’ve agreed to spend the day with us:

  • Joel Gratz from Open Snow // KEYNOTE lunch talk
  • Peter Adams from Rockies Venture Club // Financing panel
  • Anita Cameron from Northwest Loan Fund // Financing panel
  • Gabby Tinner from Quandary CrowdFunding // Financing panel
  • Jeff Schell from Rocky Mountain Patent // Moderator for the Financing Panel
  • Dwight Eppinger from Copper Mountain // Ski tech panel
  • Jason van Peeren from MJD Interactive // Ski tech panel
  • Patrick van den Broek from Grace Skis // Ski tech panel
  • Gregg Blanchard from and Ryan Solutions // moderator for the Ski tech panel

You seriously don’t want to miss this event. Get your ticket before they sell out. $35 in advance. $45 at the door … if we still have any left. 

See you on the slopes and at ELEVATE. 

NEWS: Summit County Startup Weekend Comes to Frisco

Fifty-four hours, dozens of people, hundreds of great ideas and 60 seconds, all for the opportunity to change your life and start something amazing, meaningful or just downright cool.

“Mark your calendar for April 10-12, 2015 for Summit County Startup Weekend,” says Larry Sullivan, lead organizer of the Summit County event. “We had a phenomenal level of enthusiasm and participation for our first Startup Weekend in August in Breckenridge that we knew we needed to host another one and expand the scope to all of Summit County and beyond.”

Winners of that first Startup Weekend Kyle DeFrew, Lindsay Balgooyen and Dan Balgooyen have launched their idea — Gr8tful Giveback – to connect corporations and business contributors to nonprofits and charities. Their goal is to revolutionize cause marketing.

“Startup weekend was more beneficial to us than we could of ever hoped for,” says Lindsay “All of the coaches and mentors were extremely knowledgeable and experienced, and volunteered their entire weekend to help us in any way they could.”

Since startup weekend, Gr8tful Giveback has been working on their website and app and plan to beta test both this winter. They’re already hiring a tech position and this spring will be applying for the Boomtown Accelerator program.

Startup Weekend gives anyone –- like Lindsay and her team — the opportunity to pitch an idea on Friday night in 60 seconds or less to a group of local executives, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, founders, startups, digital experts and students.

After a vote, teams form around the top ideas and then they launch into 54 hours of creating, designing, researching, analyzing, developing, coding and teamwork all to present to a panel of expert judges and local startup veterans. Prizes will be awarded to help the teams put their ideas into action and build a startup.

“The phrase that “It takes a village” is true when creating your own startup or even a startup community,” says Sullivan. “Summit County has caught the startup bug. Two new coworking spaces ELEVATE coSPACE and Evo3 Workspace are examples of the infrastructure that has been built recently that plays an important role in creating the ecosystem for a healthy startup community. Many talented individuals and companies from the county are actively involved in building the buzz and the support network young entrepreneurs need to succeed.”

Even if you don’t have an idea or don’t want to pitch, come, says Sullivan. If you’re intrigued with the idea of a startup or want to support a startup idea, this is the right event for you to attend.

According to Sullivan, Friday night is the perfect time and opportunity to find out more. “Who knows,” he says, “you might get inspired to pitch an idea or join a team.”

Summit County Startup Weekend starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 10 and runs through 9 p.m. Sunday, April 12 in Frisco at ELEVATE coSPACE and evo3 Workspace. Visit for more information.

Or connect on social at or on twitter @summitcountySW.


BLOG: Spring Your Business Forward

So … despite all of the debate and hub-bub over Daylight Savings Time, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your business: Where you are. Where you want to go.

Spring is here and it’s time to SPRING FORWARD your business.
Here are some ways to do that:

1. Take a break. Enjoy some sunshine, fresh air and some exercise. Spring skiing and riding sounds pretty good right now.

2. Work with a business coach (hint – We know a LOT of them. Or, sign up through the Small Business Development Center for a free consultation:

3. Join a mastermind group (hint – ELEVATE is hosting one with Jolina Karen every other Monday:

4. Attend a conference or event like the Startup Ski Summit on Friday, March 27:

Read more tips here:

BLOG: How to Write a Better Blog Post or Social Media Post?

Need Content Ideas? Don’t Brainstorm, Plan and Strategize!

By Cate North

My advice for any business marketer in need of content creation ideas for blogs, newsletters and social media is to start with a strategy and plan. I know that runs counter to most advice for generating ideas – like brainstorming and other blue-sky, no rules, imaginative thinking exercises.

I don’t mean days of spreadsheets and complicated, multi-section reports (at least not unless you want to), but more of a roadmap for the coming weeks and months. Otherwise you end up doing what I call content busy work. You get stuff published and posted, but it doesn’t really matter.

A content plan will give you source material for content topics, and it will also keep you focused, save time, and improve your social media marketing effectiveness.

Following are six points to consider when strategizing and planning content for your social media, blogs, website and newsletters. We covered them in a mini workshop at ELEVATE coSPACE on February 19.

1. Goals

Why are you blogging or sending out a newsletter or networking on social media? That most elemental question is one that marketers rarely consider, and when they do, the first response is “for SEO” or “for likes and follows” or “free marketing” or something similar. While SEO, likes, follows and free are all fantastic, what’s important to your business are objectives like lead generation and nurturing, brand building, growing online sales and developing stronger customer relationships. Having clear goals helps you create the kind of information you need to communicate, for the benefit of your business and more importantly, your audience.

2. Audience

Who are the people you want to reach? Generally we think of prospective new customers, yet your audience should also include current customers and clients. Depending on your business, don’t forget partners, resellers, press, investors and other VIPs.

In the workshop, we touched on the value of persona marketing, which is creating a clear profile and role model for the types of people who represent your typical buyers and influencers involved in the purchasing decision.

3. Channels

Your channels include your social media accounts, your newsletter, your blog and/or website as well as other people’s channels. We talked about being a guest contributor – which I am doing now by writing this blog post for ELEVATE – to expand your online visibility and credibility.

Maximize all your channels and leverage your content by cross-publishing and cross-promoting with links. Technology platforms like Hootsuite make it easy to do this by giving you a single dashboard for managing multiple social media accounts.

Also make an honest assessment of your channels. Which ones are the most beneficial to your business? Can you streamline? When social media began gaining steam, it was tempting to jump on the bandwagon and sign up for all of them. Now it’s better to do a few channels well than a lot of channels not-so-well!

4. Resources

Your content resources are your “ways and means” for creating content:

·       People – Do you have employees, partners or customers who would be willing to write a guest post, share a story or pictures? Do you have the means to work with an agency or freelancers? Small and independent business owners tend to do it all themselves, but it might make sense to invest in outside help to save time and get better results. These days you can find options for every budget.

·       Tools and capabilities – Do you have the equipment and means to create multi-media content. How about writing and graphic design capabilities? Make sure you can produce content to match the format of your channels (like video for YouTube) and the needs of your target audience for information.

·       Information sources – A steady stream of news and updates on topics pertaining to your industry, markets, community, products, target audience and so forth will supply you with a steady stream of raw material for articles and posts.  Find a handful of good sources and create feeds or add yourself to their mailing list.

5. Keywords

Keyword research is essential to content marketing. Discover the keyword phrases that your target audience might use in a search for your products or services and create content that includes those exact phrases and discusses those topics in meaningful (not spammy!) ways.

Even if you don’t invest in Google AdWords, you can create an account and use the Google Keyword Planner to conduct keyword research. Analytics on your website, blog and social media accounts are also good sources of keyword ideas. Third party tools for keyword research include Wordtracker, Wordstream and Ubersuggest.

6. Calendar

It helps to create some kind of calendar to schedule your content publishing efforts. Again, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a one page overview of all the months in the year and pencil in events and happenings you know of – holidays, business events, seasonal factors. These are good tie-ins for content and social media networking.

Plan and schedule posts in appropriate time increments – what will you do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly? Plot out your topics to ensure you cover everything you need to communicate – otherwise it’s easy to neglect a particular target audience or information category.

Many small businesses skip planning, thinking they don’t have the time; they don’t want complexity. Planning does take a bit of time, but it also saves time in the long run. And nothing needs to be complex – keep it as simple and useful as possible.

These six steps can help you escape the content busy work jungle and get onto the path of focus, clarity, effectiveness and success.

Cate North is the owner of FastBlurb and on the advisory board for ELEVATE coSPACE.


BLOG: Meet Rebecca. She’s a community builder, startup supporter, artist, digital marketer and part of ELEVATE’s community

By Rebecca Bowden:

I was ecstatic when I first saw a tweet about ELEVATE, a collaborative, coworking space, that had opened in Summit County. I was considering moving to the mountains for the ski season, and the news made the decision that much easier. Previously, I was living in Boulder working as a Community Coordinator for Galvanize at their Boulder location. I focused on event planning, marketing, and day-to-day member experience. During my time there I saw countless casual collisions that resulted in new business ideas, new solutions, and new collaborators, and I wanted to continue to be apart of entrepreneurial community building in Summit County.

Entrepreneurship is a difficult career choice. It is stressful and often lonely. I experienced this first hand when I started I worked late into the night in my apartment in Athens, Georgia with close to no support network of like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors. I moved to Boulder shortly after graduation to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams, and the contrast of the community and commitment to support each other was inspiring. Building a company is not done in a silo. Every peer and colleague has a piece of knowledge and experience to offer, and by building those connections and community, we create stronger companies.

I’m excited to support the mission of Elevate coSpace to build a community of entrepreneurs in Summit County. As a freelance digital marketer, I was looking for my own home and community and connected here. I will be supporting Elevate through event marketing and event planning as we bring together entrepreneurs across Colorado through Summit Startup Weekend and Startup Ski Summit.

I also blog about my entrepreneurial passions and other adventures at

BLOG: An Attitude Adjustment on Work

BY: Nina Cashman

There’s an old saying that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. About ten years ago, someone gave me an old copy of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. They must have known that I was a student of philosophy, not to mention, noticed that I’m one of those people, love ‘em or hate ‘em, who’d prefer a discussion of deep thinking and metaphysics, over themes of pop-culture, sports, or weather… anytime.

This person must have also sensed my inevitable appreciation for the wisdom of this powerful poet, philosopher and artist from Lebanon, who lived from 1883 – 1931. And, she couldn’t have been more perceptive and correct in her thinking. Given the reaction brought upon my entire body as I read Gibran’s words, it’s surprising that my encounter with his wisdom was so delayed. I only picked-up The Prophet two weeks ago, during my toddlers’ naptime when I had a sudden urge to pull the old manuscript down from my bookshelf, and read it in an hour and a half’s sitting, almost a decade after it was given to me.

For whatever reason, I suppose I wasn’t ready to appreciate the words of Gibran until this point in my life. And, for whatever reason, my appreciation is so great that I’d like to share a portion of his wisdom with you now.

One of the sections of The Prophet is “On Work.” With pure eloquence, Gibran touches upon a multitude of truths that we could all stand to remember, as we consider our careers and the “work” we put into the world each and every day.

Here’s what I’ve learned from Gibran “on work:”

1)     Work is our connection with humanity and life – it joins us with other people and aids us to collaborate and contribute our efforts, in meaningful ways, to impact our surroundings and the world at large.

2)     It’s easy to get caught-up in the idea that hard work and labor are a burden to our lives, rather than viewing opportunities to work as a gifted playing field for us to develop our highest potentials, and experience new perspectives with people we may not otherwise ever know.

3)     Work is also commonly viewed as purely a means to an end, or a place to merely pick-up a paycheck in order to put food on the table. While this is a clear and necessary benefit of much work, our life’s work is meant to allow us to express and manifest our purposes here on Earth. And, once we do that, the rewards are bound to match our efforts.

4)     Hard work is one of the best remedies for overcoming thoughts of personal deficiencies and fear. Why? Again, because it connects us with others in meaningful ways, and gets us out of our own heads through participation with the living, while experiencing the benefits of tangible results.

5)     To really love yourself, you need to know yourself. You can only know yourself if you are in touch with your own personal value and purpose. Work provides us with a perfect platform for us to contribute our value and notice our own contributions and self worth. And, the development of purpose is paced by the level of effort we are willing to put forth on its behalf.

6)     Life can get really boring when you don’t have enthusiasm or passion for your work. Whether we are stay-at-home moms & dads, career professionals, artists or outdoor laborers, we simply spend too much time contributing our work to the planet, not to find some level of love from our efforts.

7)     Acquiring knowledge requires both urge and a level of effort, or yes, work. In other words, applying ourselves as curious students to learn whatever we don’t already know is a necessary function of getting what we want. Also, sitting on high pedestals and “willing things to the universe” without any backup of effort, rarely results in much.

8)     Finding love in our work may require us to show-up differently and search for new ways to grow, develop and expand ourselves with whatever we do each day. Quite often, it’s not the job that is no longer serving you, but you who has chosen not to serve the job with your whole heart and passion. What would happen if you did?

9)     If you are truly indifferent towards your work, then it’s worth finding new work that is more aligned with the hidden urges and desires that inevitably reside inside of you.

10)  Love blossoms from hard work and effort, regardless of the title and pay scale. And, ironically, opportunities for more interesting responsibilities, higher titles and pay, all grow from the rich soils of loving what you do, no matter what you do. Simply put, people notice when you pour your passions into your work and they are more prone to acknowledge work produced from a place of passion, versus indifference.

11)  You either find ways to love what you do, or the outcome of all your efforts will get you stuck in an endless cycle of futile indifference, which only leads to long-term stress, resentment and unhappiness.

12)  When you take note of your own indifference or resentment towards your work, assign yourself the first new job of scheduling time with people who exemplify passion for their work and open your eyes to a new perspective, which in Gibran’s words, helps you realize that “work is love made visible.”

That’s a lot of wisdom gained from one short section of Gibran’s timeless work. Check it out for yourself and see what other hidden gems of wisdom strike a chord with you. My favorite parts are highlighted in bold text : ). Enjoy!

The Prophet

By Kahlil Gibran

“On Work”


You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

Which of you would be reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.

But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,

And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.

But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.

You have been told also that life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.

And I say that life is indeed darkness save where there is urge,

And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,

And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,

And all work is empty save when there is love;

And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.

And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.

It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,

And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.

Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, “He who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is nobler than he who ploughs the soil.

And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet.”

But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;

And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.

And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

Nina Cashman left the corporate marketing world in October of 2014 to pursue the world of people marketing. Now, she’s paving her own trail as a professional coach who specializes in career growth and development, leadership and team building, as well as individual branding through her company, Pave Your Way.