Last night, Obama rolled into the State of the Union by highlighting the importance of small businesses and growing the local economy. Turns out, the ski industry is a step ahead of Washington D.C., and a group in Colorado is already working to promote local Colorado-based businesses, ski town entrepreneurs, and what they’re calling the economics of soul.
Something Independent, an initiative launched last January in partnership with Senator Udall and the Colorado Office of Economic Development, is trying to grow the ski industry in Colorado, with a heavy emphasis on local development, innovation, and creativity.
This week, during the Snowsports Industries America tradeshow in Denver, they’ve set up an outdoor art installation, “The Art of Winter,” in downtown Larimer Square. Boutique ski brands like Icelantic, Ski Logik, Moment, and 4FRNT, will be showing off their topsheet art, and local artists have created pieces made from recycled skis and snowboards, donated by the SIA. They’re also hosing a business forum called the Economics of Soul that will take on how small, local companies can thrive in the snow sports world.
Chuck Sullivan, one of the founders of Something Independent, says that the public events during SIA are a way to raise awareness for companies that might be under the radar, and get people excited about what is coming out of Colorado. “It’s about really talking to this community and getting a coalition behind this idea. It’s a rallying cry,” he says.
Beyond this week, they’re working to promote partnerships between businesses that can help each other (they’ve paired up Fortitude Skis and Monarch Mountain, for instance), grow start-up businesses; and encourage the next generation of mountain brains by working with the business schools at the University of Colorado and Denver University.
“Colorado is a hub of innovation, and the trickle down is going to be job creation, incubation of entrepreneurs and the convergence of commerce and lifestyle," Sullivan says. "People should come here, the same way they go to France to study wines.”