Economy & Economic Development  May 23, 2024

Greeley set to accelerate business startups with nationwide venture capital program

GREELEY — The city of Greeley this fall will amp up entrepreneurial and business support to help small startups accelerate to the next level through a partnership with a global venture firm and startup accelerator.

The grand design is to grow entrepreneurs’ ideas into viable businesses to help diversify Greeley’s future economy and create jobs.

The city has created a gBETA accelerator program through gener8tor, a nationwide program that helps launch and push startups to higher levels and prepare them for venture capital.

“We are very excited we see it as part of a balanced economic development strategy where we are not only focused on our existing business base, which is incredibly important to us and that we want to retain, but also looking for diversity of jobs in our future,” said John Hall, director of Economic Development with the city of Greeley.  

Greeley entrepreneurs can take advantage of existing development programs in Greeley, such as Innovation Talks through the Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado, and some collaboration with the Rockies Venture Club, which brings in angel investors. The only other formal incubator program close by is Innosphere Ventures in Fort Collins.

Having a local program that is connected through a nationwide network is expected to launch startups faster. 

“We like to talk to anyone and everyone who has an idea for a company, and together we can decide whether gBETA would be a good fit,” said Baylie Evans, gBETA managing director. “gBETA is best designed for companies looking to go big and go fast, on a national or global scale.” 

While Greeley has for years been known for its agriculture, energy and food production industries, the idea with gBETA is to grow what the community has and introduce potentially new sectors that will create diverse jobs. The tech industry — an area in which Greeley has not gained a lot of traction — may naturally follow.

John Hall

“Greeley has always had a fairly innovative economy,” Hall said. “We see this as a way to more explicitly integrate things like ag tech into the local economy and leverage the base we already have. … There are a lot of reasons to be positive about our ability to capture and grow technologies.”

When accepted into the program, entrepreneurs will get a free seven-week course, with free coaching and access to the gener8tor’s mentoring network, as well as potential investors and customers throughout the country. It does not, however, guarantee access to money,” Evans said.

The program is designed to complement any existing incubation programs, Evans added. “It’s really meant to be coaching and educating,” she said. “It works quite well when the company is already engaged in an incubator program, then can also go to an accelerator. It’s designed to be a quick sprint.” 

The program is still without a manager, but it already is taking applications from startups. The first program will start in the fall. Preference will be given to ag technology to pair with the area’s large agricultural industry. The program runs two cohorts a year, with five start-ups in each group.

“From what we’ve heard from Greeley, ag is a major industry, and we want to support those companies that are supporting the overall community,” Evans said. “Hopefully, we have a lot of different industries represented.” 

Hall said city officials chose to partner with gener8tor because of its experience and large network.

“Its experience and the breadth and depth of the work it has conducted thus far in markets through the U.S.” was attractive, Hall said. “It already has a skillset that lends itself well to Greeley.”

Greeley will launch an accelerator to help startups move ahead.

Sharon Dunn
Sharon Dunn is an award-winning journalist covering business, banking, real estate, energy, local government and crime in Northern Colorado since 1994. She began her journalism career in Alaska after graduating Metropolitan State College in Denver in 1992. She found her way back to Colorado, where she worked at the Greeley Tribune for 25 years. She has a master's degree in communications management from the University of Denver. She is married and has one grown daughter — and a beloved English pointer at her side while she writes. When not writing, you may find her enjoying embroidery and crochet projects, watching football, or kayaking and birdwatching on a high-mountain lake.
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