When Opportunity Knocks…
This month the Colorado Maker Hub will be focused on communicating the Making in Colorado. We will post a topic each week sharing the awesomeness in the Colorado maker community which I have grown to love as my family has been discovering Colorado after our move here a little over a year over. This week I will focus on the makers in Colorado that have grown their ideas into a business and discuss the opportunities for new innovators and artists in Colorado.
When opportunity knocks, are you willing to open the door? What drives you to create, make and / or innovate? Each of us are different in what might have inspired us to make a specific project, but we all would agree that once we starting making and got that adrenaline going we LOVED it. After we make something, we are each different in the ‘awes’ and ‘admiration’ that we wish to receive and whether we take it to that next step of realization as a product. There are many in Colorado that have traveled this journey. I would take a guess that each in its own way, but with much desire and passion to keep moving forward.
Since the Hub formed in January of this year we have been pulling together a directory of organizations and business in the Colorado maker community. I get stoked and inspired when I have been able to focus on identifying others and find others to add to the directory. The diversity of makers, artist, creatives, DIYers and innovators we have in Colorado is amazing. I wonder how each got to where they are, if they had a passion to do more that was stifled or are they content. Each of us are on a journey of learning and as a state, regionally and in our local communities are we offering the network and connections needed to encourage makers willing to take it to the next step?
When we moved here it didn’t take long for me to discover the support and opportunities that the state provides such as the Creative Districts, Small Business Development Center Network , Built-In Colorado and many others provided by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. I was even more impressed to see competition opportunities like Go Code Colorado provided by the state that enables innovation, collaborations and fosters go to market. We are assessing whether there is a need for the Colorado Maker Hub with all the good that is happening but as we continue to have individuals and groups reach out to us for help we will continue our mission to connect, communicate and strengthen the Colorado maker community. We are ALL lucky to be living in Colorado!
But enough of my rambling expressing my luckiness to be here in Colorado and a part of the Colorado maker community…I would like to ask the question: When opportunity shows itself to you, are you willing to open that door? An example of an opportunity I would like to share with you is the American-Made Solar Prize. The American-Made Solar Prize is the inaugural prize competition of the American-Made Challenges, in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)…yes, NREL. An organization located right here in OUR state. The American-Made Challenges are designed to incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to reenergize innovation and reassert American leadership in the energy marketplace. As innovators, facilities, connectors and industry partners we all can be a part of the program…and with prize incentives. In addition to money prizes brought to Colorado, we have the opportunity to build out our Colorado American-Made Network.
For innovators interested the timeline is tight with of course, yes, a this Friday deadline on October 5th. Hopefully I haven’t scared you off yet as YOU are the key to bringing the innovation, product and prizes for all of us in the Colorado network. So please reach out if you are interested and let the network help. To inspire you, here are a few ideas of products onto which you can wrap a submission. Oh, no!…ugh, a submission you ask. Don’t take a step back yet. It is NOT a 40+ page submission, NOT even 20 pages. You can check out how easy it is to compete for the prize at the Herox’s American-Made Solar Prize Challenge page. Basically a 90 second video, answer four questions and two-page technical assistance request. Something doable within a week! If you are interested in submitting and want more information, there is a Final Ready! Contest Competitor Webinar tomorrow at 2pm Mountain Time that will cover a Deep Dive into Ranking Requirements, Encourage ongoing relationships with Connectors to prepare for Ready, Set, Go! and time for Questions/Concerns. Opportunity is knocking, are you willing to open the door?
As a facility and location with equipment have I lost you? There are opportunities for you in the American-Made Challenge! This challenge is not only about bringing a specific chosen product to market, but for those that are enablers to innovators through know-how, equipment and services. The Challenge is also to build out the American-Made Network and reenergize innovation that can be made in America. Through out the process innovators that have been chosen are provided vouchers that they can utilize within the network. These vouchers are in the form of money that you can utilize to build out your capabilities. If you would like to be a part of this network you can visit the American-Made Network Partners website and/or contact us so we can refer innovators to you. Opportunity is knocking, are you willing to open the door?
Everyone can have a part in the network and I encourage you to connect with your local makerspace or incubator to see how your skills can be leveraged. For instances, there will be innovators looking for help in creating those 90 second videos with the Wow to help them win…are you willing to be a part of building something great? Opportunity is knocking, are you willing to open the door?