Strengthening Colorado’s Innovation Economy

TechHubNow! is a new public-private initiative to accelerate statewide collaboration, highlight Colorado’s strengths as a tech hub, and bring together partners who will develop equitable, inclusive, and highly competitive applications for Tech Hub Designation. Read More >

  • Regional Innovation Funded by CHIPS & Science

    I have been honored to work with fellow NACIE members to shape a new $10B Regional Innovation Hub program that will be funded by The CHIPS & Science Act. 

  • Evolving in Service to Economic Vibrancy & Regional Innovation

    In March, Energize Colorado kicked off its fourth year, and I announced my transition from CEO to Chair of the organization. The transition allows me to both focus on emerging economic development opportunities at federal and state levels, and it also supports Energize Colorado's next phase of growth in service to the state’s underinvested in entrepreneurs and small businesses.

  • 10,000 Businesses and Counting

    Highlights from the Energize Colorado 2022 Impact Report. Energize Colorado made significant progress toward building a more resilient ecosystem in Colorado by supporting small businesses, particularly those owned by the most underinvested in groups of entrepreneurs: women, rural, veterans, and BIPOC.

  • Serving Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the National Level

    I have accepted two new opportunities to share my expertise at the national level, joining the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) and the Advisory Board of the Center for American Entrepreneurship.

  • Gov. Polis Proclaims March 23rd Energize Colorado Day

    In March, Energize Colorado turned two. Little did we know that some of our co-founders and board members were working behind the scenes to have the Governor’s Office recognize our second anniversary with this proclamation.

  • Hope, Trust, and Belonging: New Predictors of Small Business Resiliency

    Which factors contribute most to business resiliency? To the resilience of innovation ecosystems and economies? It may surprise you to learn that the mindsets of people within the business are as predictive as use of technology or access to capital. That’s the message of Theo Edmonds, JD, MHA, MFA, and Cameron Lister, MPH, co-founders of…

  • $1M Grant Bolsters Gap Fund and Square Mile Program

    As Energize Colorado nears yet another milestone—entering its third year in March 2022–I’m pleased to share that Kaiser Permanente has made a $1 million contribution to Energize Colorado’s Gap Fund.

  • Colorado’s First Small Business Resilience Index

    In the wake of COVID-19, which factors have contributed most to the economic resilience of Colorado’s small businesses? With a green light from the State of Colorado, I set to work forming a diverse and creative group of economists, public health experts, and business leaders to answer that question.

  • Governor's Revenue Estimating Advisory Committee

    Serving Colorado’s Small Businesses: Governor Polis’s GREAC

    Which macro trends are driving changes in Colorado’s small business economy? And what do those trends look like at the ground level? These are some of the key questions that Colorado Governor Jared Polis asks of the economists and business leaders who serve on the state’s Revenue Estimating Advisory’ Committee (GREAC).

  • John W. Altman Institute Wins NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Excellence Award

    Miami University and the Farmer School's John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship has been named winner of the 2020 NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence Award. Since 2019 I have had the honor of serving on the institute’s advisory board. This new award places them among the top U.S. universities for entrepreneurs.

  • school garden #realfood

    Big Green Grows Strong Leaders

    Big Green gets underserved kids in urban communities excited about fresh food. I’m delighted to support their work by serving on its board and by working closely with Tighe Brown, the CEO of Big Green.

  • Strength During Crisis: Energize Colorado’s First Year

    On March 24th Energize Colorado volunteers gathered to reflect on our first year and our impacts across Colorado’s diverse small-business community. Our Gap Fund efforts alone provided $26M to over 2,000 businesses, 97% of which belong to underserved communities.

  • Brookings Institute: Energize Colorado’s Model Overcomes Bias in Small Business Relief

    In a recent analysis by Brookings Institute, “Overcoming Bias in Small Business Relief in Colorado,” authors outline the Energize Colorado Gap Fund’s successful approach to serving Colorado’s sizable small-business community—particularly rural, black, hispanic, women, and veteran-owned businesses.

  • Let Your Potential Guide Your Professional Path

    Early on, my mother told me: “Make potential your North Star.” In this interview with former Cintrifuse colleague Tim Schigel, I explore my entrepreneurial journey and success strategies—from taking risks to building relationships.

  • Rise of the Rest:
    2021 Startup Ecosystem Playbook

    Launched in 2014 to promote investment in ecosystems and startups outside of Silicon Valley, Rise of the Rest recently published its 2021 playbook, a series of case studies that includes Energize Colorado.

  • Grant Boosts Women-Led Ventures

    Since 2019, I’ve been honored to select two female-led entrepreneurial ventures from the Greater Cincinnati area as the recipients of the Wendy S. Lea Grant for Female Founders.

  • My Top 3 Mentors and the Mindsets of Success

    In this interview, I share what I’ve learned from my most influential mentors, including Randall Murphy, a business owner who took a chance on me when I was young; Brad Feld, Managing Director of Foundry Group and co-founder of Techstars; and Bob McDonald, former CEO of P&G.

  • Energize Colorado:
    My Interview on
    9 News

    Wendy Lea speaks with 9 News Business Brief host Ryan Frazier about Energize Colorado's efforts to bolster small businesses.

  • Public Service and Ecosystem Building During a Pandemic

    In late March, I had the unique opportunity to get involved in a special project aimed at helping small businesses across Colorado navigate through the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Little did I know that this opportunity for public service would capture my head, heart, and imagination in such a way that I would ultimately launch and lead Energize Colorado.