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Central Mountain Entrepreneurs is hosting Driven By Nature: A Celebration of Rural Makers & Doers at the Salida Steam Plant Theater on Friday, January 28. The event, presented by Collegiate Peaks Bank, will feature a keynote presentation from Peter Adams, the Managing Director of the Rockies Venture Fund, as well as the launch of the Central Mountain Ascent accelerator and a Meet-&-Greet with the Winter 2022 cohort.

Jake Rishavy, Executive Director of the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) said Driven by Nature is one of the EDC’s first major public events to support entrepreneurship as an economic diversification strategy. 

“You hear a lot of people talk about kind of the desire to create a year-round economy here that’s not quite so dependent on tourism,” he explains. “And for us, the way that that’s done is by helping entrepreneurs to start new businesses and helping those early-stage companies that are already here grow and add jobs.”

Rishavy is also looking forward to announcing the ten companies in the Central Mountain Ascent accelerator program’s Winter Cohort. 

“This group of 10 is phenomenal,” he says. “Five of them are really well-known, well-established brands here that create products and services that have the opportunity to grow quite a bit, and then the other five are earlier-stage. A lot of folks probably haven’t heard of them, but they’re really compelling, really exciting ideas that we think are going to really contribute to the future of the economy.”

The keynote presentation, by Rockies Venture Fund Managing Director Peter Adams, is titled Rural Innovation & The Power of Community, and the night will conclude with live music from the Ascent House Band. 

“We have the ability to create an economy that becomes the model that other communities like ours strive to be like,” Rishavy says. “The caliber of people who have joined our mentor network and have become sponsors of this event and supporters of this accelerator program is genuinely world-class, and the fact that people of that caliber from the public sector, the private sector, or from our academic partners…have come together around this idea so strongly and quickly, I think speaks volumes to how exciting this work could be.”

Event Schedule

  • 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Welcome Reception
  • 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Program (featuring emcee Chuck Sullivan)
    • Keynote Presentation: Rural Innovation & The Power of Community, with Peter Adams, Managing Director, Rockies Venture Fund
  • 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Entertainment (featuring live music with the Ascent House Band)

To register for the event, go to and sign up. The event will be held indoors, and masks will be required. The Steam Plant is located at 220 West Sackett Avenue in Salida, CO. More information on the event and registration can be found on the event’s page on Meetup