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Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) held its 2023 Ascent Startup Summit last Thursday, April 20 at the Surf Hotel in Buena Vista, Colorado. The event celebrated entrepreneurs, dreamers, and doers in this mountain community and culminated with the award of $235,000 in grants to growing businesses.

The event allowed attendees to connect with and listen to inspiring stories from entrepreneurs behind Weston Backcountry, Topo Designs, and Icelantic Skis. They each shared the highs and lows of their entrepreneurial journeys, priceless insights into starting and growing a business in the Central Colorado Rockies, and invaluable advice for the attendees.

“It will be quite some time before we can put into actual words what unfolded at our second Annual Ascent Startup Summit. To say we are inspired and impressed with this entrepreneurial movement happening in Chaffee County would be the understatement of the year,” wrote EDC Executive Director Jake Rishavy.

The highlight of the day was the award of $135,000 in non-dilutive grant funding from the EDC’s Ark_Angel investor network and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to six companies. The six include:

  • Elements Compost
  • Terra Firma Forestry
  • Hey Sweetie
  • Oso Adventure Meals
  • Buena Goods
  • Little Red Hen

The EDC and the Ascent Startup Summit folks say they will be following along and sharing as these companies do big things in the communities they serve.

The event was sponsored by Collegiate Peaks Bank,  Aristata Communications, and The Kenneth King Foundation. The  beverage sponsors included Deerhammer Distillery, Woods High Mountain Distillery, Elevation Beer Company, and Eddyline Brewery, and the hospitality was provided by Wesley & Rose and the Surf Hotel.

Featured image: This photo and all others shared at  by Amanda Podesta Photography.