Poised for Growth: Denver’s Tech Scene Is Creating a World-Class City
Every year a handful of reports are published naming the best cities to live in, where to raise kids, or where to start a business. Generally, Denver is near the top of most of these lists. And why not? Living in Downtown Denver rocks and the city deserves to be recognized for it.
A recent Denver Post article got us thinking: What makes Denver so special? What has this city done to position itself both for today as well as for future growth? And how can the people and businesses in the urban core play a role.
Living in Downtown Denver
To understand how intelligent workers and high tech businesses can impact the city of Denver you must first consider how it’s all tied together. As the Denver Post article stated, it’s imperative to have a highly educated workforce in order to drive innovation, and Denver certainly has that.
But it’s not just jobs that make for happy workers.
Denver has also become a wildly vibrant and flavorful place to live. The city is evolving before our eyes and it’s full of surprises. People really like that about Denver. There are restaurants, shops, museums, art galleries, condo projects, and breweries popping up all over the downtown area. Opportunities to enjoy life, to build a business or thrive professionally, and to learn new things are more abundant than ever in Denver.
Combine these factors with the massive selection of physical activities and adventure that’s afforded by the surrounding geography, and a very favorable climate to enjoy it all in, and you have the ingredients need to fuel the future of Denver.
This is no accident, of course.
The city of Denver has fostered a very energetic community full of commerce, activity, and ultimately happiness. This is being enjoyed by all age groups, but perhaps most noticeably by educated 25- to 34-years-olds, who have been moving to the Front Range in droves in recent years. As a result, the city’s popularity is snowballing right now. Denver has been a great place to live and play for generations, but now the world knows all about it. Denver is capitalizing on this in many ways.
A Talented, Healthy, Engaged Work Force
Ultimately, businesses have benefited from this optimistic and energetic outlook, and an education system that is producing highly capable people in critical fields such as science, technology and engineering. In Denver, businesses today have access to ambitious, healthy, energetic, optimistic, educated, and engaged people, and that translates into a real competitive advantage.
The Denver startup and entrepreneurial scene have the attention of people across the county and the globe. Denver Start Up week, now in its third year, is a tangible example of the size and scope of the growing technology sector in the state.
Perseverance and a Vision
But innovation and optimism in Denver are far from new things.
There is a certain group of people who have never doubted the city. That list includes folks like Dana Crawford and groups like the Downtown Denver Partnership, both of who continued to invest and put one foot ahead of the other, even when Denver and the rest of the nation were struggling through the 2008 recession.
As our infrastructure has expanded and deepened, the draw of the lifestyle Denver affords has grown as well. Denver has always been an amazing place to live, but in the past decade major investments have been made that really showcase how much people believe in this city. Those improvements span the spectrum from healthcare, education, infrastructure, parks, bike paths, and housing.
Perhaps the Millennials get more attention, but all generations seem to truly enjoy living, working and playing in downtown Denver. People demand variety and a depth of choices within close proximity to where they live and work, and the downtown area provides that more than ever. People crave the intimacy afforded by walking and riding a bike, or by easily getting places via car sharing programs.
There’s a real communal feel in Denver right now and you can literally feel an energy brewing. Both the people who are brand new to the city and the longtime locals are collaborating on events, initiatives and projects that are propelling the future of Denver. Groups like City Build Denver are specifically focused on engaging the next generation of city builders and leaders. People are investing their time and money in and around the city center because they love and believe in this great place.
As the density of Denver grows, and its identity evolves, the city is revealing more and more of its potential and appeal. There’s energy and movement everywhere you look. New ideas are circulating throughout the city rapidly and collaboration is weaved throughout our economy. Even at the governmental level, via the Colorado Innovation Network, innovation has become a hot topic and the City of Denver and the State of Colorado are striving to position the community as an incredible place for people and businesses.
What Influences are Shaping the Future of Denver?
- Medical technology – Stapleton and Fitzsimmons
- High Tech Campuses such as IBM, Oracle, and Level 3
- Educated workforce from local universities – UofD, Colo State, CU
- Lightrail route to DIA
- Public and private collaboration such as the Colorado Innovation Network and Innovation week
- Downtown Denver Partnership initiatives
- Denver Start Up week
- Coworking spaces like Galvanize, Industry, Converge, Laundry, Galvanize 2
- DIA and direct transcontinental flights to major business and culture outlets
Challenges Still to Come
To continue to hold our position as a coveted city for business and lifestyle, we must continue to invest in our potential. For technology start-ups and the entrepreneurial community, a greater presence of venture capital provided by Colorado-based funds and resources is necessary. It’s also critical that our education systems produce the talent and technical aptitude that our economy demands.
We will continue to expand the city’s infrastructure to provide more grocery stores, quality schooling, affordable housing, and more high paying jobs. We will also see more investment and expansion into a variety of underutilized neighborhoods that surround downtown such as River North, Globeville, the I-70 corridor just north of the city.
Continued investment in the South Platte River area and the parks and trails region-wide will add to the intimacy of the city, as well.
Downtown Denver really is on a tear! The city and the people of it are standing tall and proud and the community is growing daily. This is certainly a special place to fly your flag!