Wood: IQ Awards to honor ‘Innovation Quotient’

It’s been a couple of years since BizWest conducted its IQ Awards, honoring the “Innovation Quotient” among the region’s companies, but we’re excited to revive the program this year.

Nominations are now open for the primary awards, honoring innovative products and services. Products must have come to market no earlier than Jan. 1, 2020, or be in a beta-testing mode. Significant upgrades to existing products also qualify, as do products still in prototype mode.

While most of our past IQ Awards programs have been limited to either the Boulder Valley or Northern Colorado, the 2021 version will accept nominations from throughout our coverage area — Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties, plus Brighton and Westminster.

All products must be submitted by companies based in or with a significant presence in the region. 

Innovations must be able to support a “sustainable” business model. Although financials are requested as part of the nomination process, a certain level of revenues or profits is not a deciding criteria in the evaluation process; potential is more important.

An independent panel of judges will review the nominations, dividing them into appropriate categories, such as aerospace, bioscience, consumer products, natural and organic, sports and outdoors, software, business products, etc.

Finalists will be announced in all categories, with winners unveiled at the IQ Awards gala celebration, scheduled for Oct. 14 at the Boulder JCC.

But one award won’t even be determined until the event: Judges will pre-select three innovations for a “pitch-slam” competition, with judges interviewing three executives on-stage about their innovations. The audience will then vote on the overall “Innovation of the Year.”

Both the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado have become known as centers of innovation. That’s reflected in everything from startup activity to the presence of global technology, natural and organic, outdoor, agribusiness, energy and clean-tech companies. It’s also clear when looking at increasing venture-capital investments, public and private offerings, federal grants and patents.

Every past year of IQ has amazed with the quality, scope, potential and breadth of innovation that occurs locally.

Let’s see what comes in this year. The initial nomination deadline is Aug. 16. Nomination and registration information is available at https://events.bizwest.com/iqawards/

BizWest soon will open nominations for several other IQ Awards categories, including Innovative Company of the Year and Innovator/Accelerator of the Year.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1941, 970-232-3133 or via email at cwood@bizwest.com.