Entrepreneurs encouraged to fail in new innovation competition

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Gov. John Hickenlooper is working to help startups in advanced industries by encouraging them to fail.

Hickenlooper announced the launch of a new challenge with the moniker “Glorious Failure: In Search of Success Innovation Challenge,” a statewide business competition to encourage creativity and risk-taking in seven industries that include information and technology, aerospace, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, advanced manufacturing, bioscience and electronics.

The goal is to give Colorado entrepreneurs operating with less than $1 million in annual revenue the chance to compete for $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations to accelerate their business ventures.

“Research and development-focused companies in advanced industries are an important economic market for Colorado,” Hickenlooper said. “This workforce currently drives 30 percent of the state’s economy. We want to encourage and grow these important industries, which provide quality, high-paying jobs for the people of this great state.”

The Glorious Failure Challenge is designed to showcase promising early stage entrepreneurial companies determined in a way that extends beyond traditional indicators of success. The innovation competition incorporates the acceptance and tolerance of failure – a key factor in building and supporting entrepreneurial communities.

“The concept that failure can be a catalyst for success is being used as inspiration to find, celebrate and advance local innovators,” said Catherine Grassman, Executive Director of the Colorado Innovation Newtork. “The ‘Glorious Failure’ theme speaks to Colorado entrepreneurs who have overcome challenges and adversity to develop viable and innovative companies that advance the economic success of Colorado.”

Entries for Glorious Failure: In Search of Success Innovation Challenge can be submitted through the COIN website (www.coloradoinnovationnetwork.com) and will be accepted through July 3.

A panel of judges comprised of state business leaders and innovators will select up to four finalists, with an additional finalist selected by online popular vote during the entry period. Following the selection process, finalists will receive “pitch training” before presenting their proposals at the COIN Summit on August 29, 2013. At the Summit, a judging panel and delegation will determine the overall winner. The COIN Summit is a two-day, invitation-only meeting for 250 leaders from Colorado and around the globe to connect on innovation topics.

First place will receive $50,000 in cash, as well as $25,000 in-kind business services. Second place will receive $13,500 in-kind services, and the third place winner will receive $11,750 in-kind services. These services include legal assistance from Cooley LLP, community workspace from Galvanize, computer technologies such as e-mail and backup bundling or cloud storage from CenturyLink/Savvis, and video production services from Post Modern Company.