Telluride Foundation: Southwest Innovation Corridor

Revised Telluride Foundation logo

Telluride Foundation: Southwest Innovation Corridor

Telluride Foundation receives state and federal grants to develop southwest innovation corridor.Twofold support for regional entrepreneurs and Telluride Venture Accelerator expansion.

Revised Telluride Foundation logo

The Telluride Foundation’s award-winning Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) will soon be expanding its programs and collaborating with other regional business development organizations to create a “Southwest Innovation Corridor.”

As a result of two new grant awards, TVA will be expanding high-tech innovation infrastructure in southwest Colorado. The U.S.  Department of Commerce just announced that the Telluride Foundation was awarded $499,720 over three years through its Regional Innovation Strategies Grant Program. This announcement followed an earlier announcement in December of a $300,000 grant award over 18 months from the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) through its Advanced Industry Accelerator Grant program.

The Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies Program is designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities across the country. Twenty-five grants were issued totaling $10 million, and the Telluride Foundation was the only foundation nationwide and the only applicant in Colorado to be awarded a grant. This EDA grant will focus on uniting current nascent efforts to support entrepreneurship and commercialization in the southwest region of Colorado to create a purposeful strategy for moving ideas from consideration and development to fundable companies and creating jobs and sustained economic activity in a geographically disbursed rural area. The Southwest Innovation Corridor will capitalize on leveraging regional assets, including accelerators, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and Fort Lewis College.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade awarded $4.4 million to Colorado organizations through its Advanced Industry Accelerator Grant Program to provide state funding to collaborative projects that will have a broad, industry-wide impact across one or more of Colorado’s Advanced Industries, which include manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, and technology and information.

For this grant Fort Lewis College and the Foundation teamed together to leverage and expand existing and disparate high-tech innovation infrastructure in southwest Colorado into an intentional program that expands and sustains a robust entrepreneurial and commercialization ecosystem, as well as engages Fort Lewis engineering students in hands-on entrepreneurial principles and processes.

Jesse Johnson & Paul Major, by Brenda Colwell

Jesse Johnson & Paul Major, co-founders, Telluride venture Accelerator, by Brenda Colwell, special to The Denver Post

“These grants are very exciting. They validate our success with TVA and the potential for accelerating entrepreneurship in our region. We have great partners and potential in our rural region to lead entrepreneur and innovation efforts,” said Paul Major, President & CEO of the Telluride Foundation. “These grant programs will complement and expand other regional business development organizations to support high-growth companies that will start, stay and prosper in rural southwestern Colorado.” 

Grant funds will leverage millions in additional resources, including: a new $35 million Geoscience, Physics and Engineering Hall at Fort Lewis College; Telluride Venture Accelerator and Durango’s Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE); Region 9 and Region 10 Small Business Development Centers; and regional co-working centers.

Through Fort Lewis College’s and TVA’s new partnership, physics and engineering students will have opportunities to participate in a design and commercialization competition, advanced industry internships, and entrepreneurship training.

More about the Telluride Venture Accelerator:

The Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), a program of the Telluride Foundation (a 501(c)(3) community foundation), invests human and financial capital in innovative enterprises with the aim of building and strengthening the entrepreneurial community in the Telluride region to create a self-sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystem, bringing innovation, jobs, ideas and a renewed dynamism to the region.  Along with the Telluride Foundation, the EDA and Colorado OEDIT, TVA is supported by individual donors, foundations, governments and corporate sponsors – notably the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Johnson Family Foundation, The Town of Mountain Village, Cooley LLP, IBM and Softlayer, ASAP Payroll, Colorado Impact Fund, and the Kauffman Foundation.  For more information on TVA, visit

More about the Telluride Foundation:

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant-maker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit  



No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.