Economy & Economic Development  April 26, 2024

Tayer: Mycelium dreamin’ toward a healthy economic ecosystem

In my Boulder Chamber role, I participate in a wide variety of events and programs that are consistent with the expansive interests of the Boulder business community. In just the past couple of weeks, the Boulder Chamber hosted business input sessions on the proposed minimum wage increase, sponsored training in skills-based hiring practices and joined Downtown Boulder in an emergency meeting with Xcel Energy about power outage impacts. 

When a recent night’s panel discussion veered into the benefits of mycelium to a sustainable and healthy food supply, though, I hope you’ll forgive me if I wondered, briefly, why the Boulder Chamber needed to be at the table . . . That is, until I started drawing an analogy to the web of connections that contribute to a healthy economic ecosystem.

For those who weren’t there with me at the “Connecting Youth and Green Business Mentors in Boulder County” forum, it truly was an inspiring gathering. Produced by Martin Ogle, the founder of Entrepreneurial Earth, this forum was designed to encourage students to pursue environmental sustainability careers in a wide variety of industries. I was proud to hear Boulder Chamber member companies, such as Namaste Solar and Upslope Brewing, speak about their commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices.

One person who participated in the panel was Azuraye Wycoff, executive director of Yellow Barn Farm, who spoke about its regenerative agriculture practices that contribute to healthy mycelium colonies. Azuraye explained that branched mycelium colonies live in soil and can spread across thousands of acres, breaking down plant material and turning it into food for other organisms that live in healthy soil and feed the plants that grow above ground — i.e. the food we eat. 

Where am I going with this? Like healthy plants, businesses don’t grow and thrive in a vacuum. They are nurtured through individual ingenuity and a strong strategic plan, along with an array of support services, complimentary businesses and mentorship. And let’s not forget the critical importance of a strong economic climate that encourages innovation, entrepreneurship and business success. 

And underlying all it, the mycelium of the Boulder business community, if you will, lies the Boulder Chamber.

I’ve been asked about the recent announcement that the Commercial Brokers of Boulder will be integrated into the Boulder Chamber. This follows the absorption of Boulder Transportation Connections, the founding of the Boulder Chamber Foundation and implementation of our Boulder Together initiative. All of these programs have become important elements of the Boulder Chamber’s advocacy, business support and economic vitality services.

It’s a wide spectrum of activity for our still small organization, but critical to maintaining a healthy economic ecosystem. Just like the integrated network that maintains regenerative agricultural farms, our businesses can’t succeed without access to the workforce housing our Boulder Together program is fighting to generate, without more convenient mobility options that Transportation Connections is facilitating, and without a stronger connection between expanding businesses and local commercial real estate relocation opportunities that the CBB membership can identify.

To capture the full range of Boulder Chamber activity, we’ve recently rebranded. The adjustments in our logo are subtle, but it’s helping to pull together a bunch of disparate brand identities for our various programs into a single umbrella image (think more like the FedEx brand model v. M&M Mars). We’ve also adjusted some of our program names to capture the “Boulder Chamber’ moniker. For example, the Boulder Economic Council is now the Boulder Chamber Economic Council.

To top it off, we’ve also assumed a new brand phrase, “Your chamber does that.” In a complex business environment, with so many factors impacting your success, the Boulder Chamber is evolving to address your needs and help you realize your vision. No, we don’t cover all the ground — and we enjoy working with our partner business support organizations to make sure every business and industry sector receives the specific attention they need. However, when there’s a critical void to fill in support of our local businesses and our collective economic vitality, you can expect that the Boulder Chamber will respond.  

So, while we didn’t select, “The mycelium of your local economy,” as our new slogan, the Boulder Chamber is proud to serve as the nutrient fuel for your business success and the network of support for a thriving regional economic ecosystem.  

John Tayer is president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at 303-442-1044, ext 110 or [email protected].

John Tayer
John Tayer is president of the Boulder Chamber of Commerce.
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