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All Copy Products, Inner City Heath Center offering free vision screening

On Aug. 20, All Copy Products and the Inner City Heath Center (ICHC) will offer children and adults free vision screening as part of national Children's Eye Health and Safety month. The offering is intended to help those who may have health insurance but lack coverage for vision benefits.

All Copy Products, which offers digital office equipment, print services and IT services for companies, calls it a win-win partnership. The company is doing it not just to be beneficial to the community but beneficial to itself.

"Employees -- particularly the newest generations to join the workforce -- are actively seeking employers who take community giving seriously, and win-win partnering takes us well beyond writing a check to staff engagement with programs like the upcoming vision screening," explains President Brad Knepper.

All Copy Products says it is contributing $35,000 to ICHC in 2016 and plans to grow its contributions to the center to nearly $60,000 in 2017. "Denver nonprofits need partners like All Copy Products that take this collaborative and organized approach to corporate giving," says Kraig Burleson, CEO of ICHC. "This partnership is a game-changer for our organization because it allows us to plan for and use contributions in the most strategic manner possible. . . . It's also helpful to have a pool of volunteers who's support we know we can depend on."

All Copy Products' employees will and more than 20 volunteers from the Lions Club of Denver will aid at the ICHC at 3800 York St. in Denver to support the center's first free vision screening.

At the screening ICHC will have bilingual volunteers and also offer recycled glasses to patients who need them.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Pop-up beer garden coming to Skyline Park

Beginning Aug. 19, Skyline Park will host a pop-up beer garden showcasing Colorado craft beers. Adults will be able to enjoy a beer at a 40,000-square-foot area at Skyline Park and relax in the shade under a tent or in open-air seating. The beer garden is part of the city's effort to encourage activities in Denver's public spaces like the Meet in the Street events.

"The Downtown Denver Partnership is excited to bring forward a new and unique program to encourage residents, employees and visitors to gather in Downtown Denver in one of our most vibrant parks," says John Desmond, executive vice president of downtown environment for the Downtown Denver Partnership. "The Skyline Beer Garden builds on several initiatives to bring diverse and attractive programming to Skyline Park and support long-term strategies to create a premier outdoor downtown that contributes to an economically thriving center city."

The family-friendly beer garden will feature 12 beers on tap and serve food from the Lowry Beer Garden. Oktoberfest-style tables will seat more than 350, and the operation will create 15 to 20 jobs while open through Sept. 15. 

The menu will include gourmet brats, burgers, salads, pretzels and dipping sauces. The garden also will host music on Fridays and Saturdays and the garden will include ping pong, a nine-hole miniature golf course and cornhole. 

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey, a monthlong celebration of local foods, kicks off


This August, the Colorado Department of Agriculture and its Colorado Proud program are celebrating local food and food manufacturers with the Follow Your Fruits & Veggies Journey. The celebration launched Aug. 1 on Colorado's 140th birthday as part of Gov. Hickenlooper's Colorado Proud month, with a pop-up picnic at the History Colorado Center.

More than ever, Colorado restaurants are sourcing locally grown produce, and manufacturers are using local ingredients ranging from honey to fruits to vegetables to grains. Supermarkets carry local cheeses, spreads, sodas, tinctures and other products.

"The event is a great way to recognize Colorado's past and celebrate the people that continue to make the state a great place to work and live," says Wendy White, marketing specialist for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "We are excited to host a pop-up picnic on Colorado Day as it allows us to educate consumers on the benefits of buying and eating local produce while celebrating the farmers, ranchers and food producers that contribute to the vitality of the state."

While Denver is often regarded as an IT mecca, it's worth remembering that the state's economy is largely an agricultural one. In fact, the agriculture department notes that it's one of the state's top three industries with more than 173,000 jobs and that it contributes $41 billion to the state's economy annually.

In all, the campaign is hosting 20 events -- with multiple events in Denver -- throughout the month. The events throughout the month will take place at stores, farmers markets and other venues, including events at Union Station, Fiddler's Green and Old South Pearl Street. Events will link the stages of locally grown produce and connect Coloradans to local farmers and educate consumers about local produce, like Palisade peaches, Rocky Ford melons and Olathe sweet corn.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Arts in Society grant program launching in Denver

The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Hemera Foundation and RedLine Contemporary Art Center have launched a new Arts in Society grant program. Bonfils-Stanton and Hemera are supporting the grants, which will range between $10,000 and $50,000. RedLine is administering the program, which will support social practice projects.

"Social practice or socially engaged art is where the artist integrates communities and topics or issues that are informed or relevant to those communities within the artwork in a collaborative way," says Louise Martorano, RedLine executive director. As such it will support projects that work across multiple sectors. "An artist could collaborate with a nonprofit service provider that focused on healthcare or homelessness," Martorano says.

"There are many national examples of this type of work like with Theaster Gates and the Dorchester Projects in Chicago, Rick Lowe and Project Row Houses [in Houston], Creative Time [in New Orleans] and their production of Waiting for Godot," says Martorano. A local example comes from RedLine's resource artist Tracy Tomko asked artists to envision, in art, solutions for emotional and psychological challenges through her "Institute for Non-Bizarre Treatment" project. The gallery also will host another example of the type of projects the grants could support in Baltimore artist Graham Coreil-Allen's New Public Sites walking tours project on Aug. 10 and 11. The tours showcase overlooked public spaces.

The site for the new grant program will go live Aug. 10 and the portal for applications will be available Aug. 15. Artists must submit a letter of intent by Sept. 26 to be considered for a grant. RedLine will host information sessions about the new program on Sept. 1 and Sept. 11. To attend, email Martorano at louise.martorano@redlineart.org.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Colorado STEMworks helps investors find STEM programs

Colorado STEM has added six science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs ideal for investment to its STEMWorks database.Three of the programs in the database were newly added, the three others moved up in the program, joining a number of other programs in the database that the organizers deem investment worthy for business leaders, funders and advocates.

Colorado STEMworks lists more than 20 programs as potentially worthy of investment, up from seven programs in its first year. These include locally grown programs like Denver Public Schools CareerConnect, Denver Museum of Nature and Science's Urban Advantage Metro Denver and local versions of Smithsonian Science Education Center's Leadership Assistance for Science Education Reform.

Adams 12 Five Star SchoolsSTEMinspired, Open World Learning and ST Math were added to the Colorado STEMworks database. KidsTek and LAB-AIDS boosted their status in the database from "Promising to Accomplished."

"Defining quality in STEM education and supporting programs to meet a high bar of excellence for Colorado students ensures that companies have a way to make meaningful investments in education," said Angela Baber, STEM Director of the Colorado Education Initiative (CEI). "We are delighted to be welcoming more programs into this growing coalition of STEM programs that we know deliver results for Colorado kids and Colorado companies." The STEMworks database is organized by CEI and the Colorado Technology Association using the national Change the Equation model of application and review to add programs.

The program has drawn investments from major local companies like Arrow Electronics. "Arrow's investment in STEMworks is an opportunity to help shape the next generation of employees," said Alex West, corporate social responsibility manager at Arrow. "Will they work for Arrow some day? Who knows, but I certainly hope so." 

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


"Debugging the Developer Shortage" offers informal IT job fair

With Denver and Boulder suffering from a shortage of IT workers, Girl Develop It (GDI), Turing, and The Dialog Lab are hosting "Debugging the Developer Shortage," a networking event and informal job fair, on Aug. 3 at RiNo's Green Spaces aimed at filling some of those empty positions.

"The event is open to any and all developers, but helping women find tech jobs is definitely close to our hearts," says Alena Bowen, a spokesperson with The Dialog Lab. "Organizations are actively seeking to build more diverse engineering teams, and orgs like GDI are helping women gain the skill sets they need to succeed in developer roles -- this event will connect the dots," she adds.

ReadyTalk is one of the event's sponsors. "We plan to have eight to 10 companies at the event," says Bowen. "Alteryx, GoSpotCheck, SendGrid and Rachio are currently confirmed attendees." In addition, more than 70 people have signed up to attend the event already and the organizers expect about 100 to attend.

"The event came out of a conversation between The Dialog Lab and Girl Develop It," Bowen says. "We work closely with tech companies who are struggling to keep up with the demand for great developers. GDI is incredibly successful at training developers, but doesn't provide direct support for finding jobs. We thought it would be fun and impactful to bring the two groups together. Turing was excited about the event when they heard about it, so joined in as well."

Companies attending the event will send their engineers and human resources people -- who won't be collecting resumes, just meeting and talking with potential hires.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Denver proposes dedicated fund for affordable housing

On July 13, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Councilwoman Robin Kniech introduced the details of the city's plan to create funding to support affordable housing.

Pending approval by Denver City Council, the funding will be generated by way of development fees and property taxes. Over the next 10 years, the new funding stream could generate $150 million, allowing for the construction of 6,000 new homes for low- to moderate-income families in the city and catalyze thousands of jobs in the process.

"There is no more important a priority in Denver right now than affordable housing," Mayor Hancock said. "In my state of the city speech yesterday, I spoke about the thousands of people who lack the simple advantages so many of us take for granted, like a place to call home. Home ownership gives families a foundation to build equity, build wealth and build a life. This is a fair, balanced and modest approach to address one of the most pressing problems facing Denver today."

The proposal from the mayor's office are expected to cost residential property owners $1 a month and commercial property owners $145 annually for every $1 million worth of commercial valuation. It also would establish a one-time development fee on new construction projects collected when a project receives its building permit. Residential construction fees for single-family homes will carry a 60 cent per square foot fee and multi-family homes will carry a $1.50 per square foot fee. Industrial projects will pay a 40 cents per square foot fee and retail, hotel and other commercial development will pay a $1.70 per square foot fee.

"By pairing a small portion of the property tax revenue that Denver voters approved almost four years ago with what would be one of the lowest one-time fees on new residential and commercial development in the nation, our broader community will be coming together with a sector of the economy generating some of the demand to create a bold solution for affordable housing in Denver," Kniech contended.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Hillary Clinton visits Denver trading startup PanXchange

PanXchange announced that Hillary Clinton visited the startup shortly after it launched the first U.S. pilot of its web-based trading software. Clinton was on hand to discuss her innovation and technology agenda at the woman-led business.

"I know just a little bit about commodities -- and their trading, their buying, their selling -- both futures and the actual commodities themselves," Clinton remarked after touring the facility at Galvanize. "And what you are doing, Julie [Lerner], is just transformational. . . . This kind of effort is opening up markets, creating more transparency which will benefit so many of the people who are actually doing the hard work of producing food and trying to get it to market, and create a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. So, I'm thrilled by that."

The visit came the day after PanXchange launched its pilot for feed grains in the U.S. The pilot launched with 15 industry partners and already has added more. The pilot will run through July and is expected to launch out of beta in September. In 2015 the company launched its platform in East African countries including Kenya Uganda and Tanzania allowing the trade of maize, millet, sorghum and dried beans.

"I was expecting a quick meet and greet, but was pleasantly surprised at how pointed her questions were. It was clear that she was familiar with the work we're doing," Lerner says of the visit. "She asked about the inroads we've been making in East African grain and beans markets and our launch in U.S. feed ingredients. We then showed her the live trading screens and discussed our plans for growth."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Mile High WorkShop expands, offers local makers space

Mile High WorkShop, an innovative job training program that helps disadvantaged people learn employable skills, is expanding. The workshop, which launched in 2014, is expanding into a 13,000-square-foot space where other businesses will have an opportunity to rent space.

"A larger space will allow us to grow our business and increase our ability to employ and train members of our community who are rebuilding from prison, addictions and homelessness," says Mile High WorkShop Director Andy Magel. "The additional square footage provides room to partner with innovative businesses in town while furthering our job-creation mission."

Magel says Mile High Workshop will share the new location with Bud's Warehouse. Local businesses and makers can rent the space on a sliding scale. If the business uses Mile High WorkShop's employees and their services, which include woodworking, laser engraving, packaging and assembly services, they can get lower rent.

The workshop already has more than 20 partners, including furniture making for Relevant ReUse and Old Wood Soul. It also manufactures pillows for V&R Naturals and makes camera accessories for Artisan Obscura, among others.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

Denver Startup Week receives proposals for nearly 1,000 sessions

The organizers of Denver Startup Week received a total of 944 proposals for sessions in 2016. Until July 15, people can vote on which sessions they want to see and attend at the annual event being held this year from Sept. 12 to 16.

"We continue to be blown away by the support for those looking to start and grow a business in our community," said Erik Mitisek, executive director of Project X-ITE at the University of Denver and co-founder of Denver Startup Week. "This level of community engagement and support for Denver Startup Week is proof positive that downtown Denver is the best place to start and grow a business."

The proposals received this year represent a significant, 76 percent increase over the 535 proposals received last year. Voters chose 235 sessions for last year's startup week, which ultimately was attended by nearly 11,000 people. Given the number of proposals submitted to the event this year it's likely even more will attend than last year.

"Now it's up to our attendees to tell us what they will value most by voting on their favorite sessions," said Ben Deda, chief operating officer at Galvanize. "There is no doubt that Denver Startup Week attendees receive unmatched quality of programming to support their business growth."

Entrepreneurs and likely attendees and others can vote for the sessions they want to attend at Denver Startup Week 2016 in one of six categories: Founder, Growth, Maker, Product, Designer and Developer. Organizers say the final program will support all industries and stages of business. Vote at www.denverstartupweek.org.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Asynchrony Labs growing in Denver

Earlier in 2016, IT services company World Wide Technology and its subsidiary Asynchrony Labs opened up an office in downtown Denver focused on regional sales, engineering and development. It's already looking to expand the office as it ramps up hiring.

"Asynchrony's Denver office is staffed with 25 employees and is looking to grow to over 60 software developers and Quality Assurance executives by the end of the year," says Dave Costello, a spokesperson for the company. He adds, "The company is looking for mid- and senior level developers (iOS, .NET, Java) and quality analysts for its Denver office."

The St. Louis-based IT company chose Denver for its strong concentration of technology resources and tech professionals. Ultimately the company plans to expand further in Denver. "It's projecting to grow its Denver office to over 200 people in the coming years to keep up with its hyper growth," Costello explains.

The company said that in addition to hiring up to 200 new software developers it also plans to hire 50 field sales representatives in the Denver market. The employees will help serve Worldwide Technology's enterprise customers in Denver, which include federal government agencies and Cisco Systems.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Colorado Technology Association starts tech internship accelerator

To encourage high schoolers to enter or consider careers in the booming tech industry, the Colorado Technology Association (CTA) partnered with Denver Public Schools and DPS CareerConnect and more than 20 civic and industry partners to launch the inaugural Civic Tech Internship Accelerator (CTIA). The new program for high schoolers was launched last week with 34 high school student interns.

Students from three DPS schools -- Abraham Lincoln, West and High Tech Early College (HITEC) -- are participating in the program. The curriculum will cover cybersecurity, cloud computing, GIS, UX and design sketching, creativity software and other technologies to show them what directions the industries are moving in and what opportunities are available while equipping them with the skills and knowledge for such careers.

The accelerator is not a full internship program, explains Program Coordinator Cyrus Martin. "It is an accelerator coinciding with DPS CareerLaunch, occurring every Friday during the six-week program." CareerLaunch is part of DPS CareerConnect program for students.

Fifteen companies are participating in the program. Among them are: Apple, Bit by Bit Analytics, Choozle, Coastal Cloud, Couragion, DaVita, Handy Networks, Ibotta, KidsTek, Minerva, OhHeckYeah, Secure Set, Turing, Universal Mind and Zayo Group.

Martin says that the junior and senior student interns work with their host organizations most of the week fulfilling 20 of their required 25 CareerLaunch hours. "We are fulfilling the other five each Friday by delivering 15 one- to two-hour industry-led tech trainings."

Currently, the internships are singular opportunities for the students and aren’t tied in with other local training programs or colleges directly, according to Martin. However, "Some of the civic hosting partners have expressed to the students that there are other opportunities to stay involved and some have informed students of additional, longer-term internship opportunities within their companies/organizations," he says.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


QuickZip's sheets win $250,000 at Capital Championship

Denver-based QuickZip has reimagined one of most used pieces of people's homes -- sheets. The line of products make it easier, quicker and cleaner to change sheets on beds ranging from cribs to California Kings.The company won the 2016 Capital Championship and $250,000 to help the company expand.

QuickZip's sheets cover the bottom of the bed, and the top is zipped into place. The flat top layer of the sheet s changed and washed and the bottom remains in place. Clothes don't get stuck in the sheet in the dryer and the clean sheet can be folded flat for easy storage. When the sheets are changed, people don't have to lift or move the mattress.

"This is a well-deserved win for QuickZip as they faced incredible competition from numerous startup companies across the country," said David Brey, executive director of Capital Championship. The championship, funded by Blue Ocean Enterprises and sponsored by OtterBox, Hewlett Packard, FirstBank, EKS&H and Hogan Lovells, had 10 finalists this year. It is aimed at the startup community to help entrepreneurs gain exposure, networking mentoring and cash.

"We saw tremendous presentations throughout the tournament and are thrilled for QuickZip. We appreciate the work they put into their company and hope this new cash infusion and mentorship helps move them to the next level, continuing the company's trajectory to success," Brey explained.

QuickZip will use the prize to help further its growth. "We will use the money for sales and marketing and product development so that we can bring smarter bedding solutions to more people and in new market segments," says QuickZip founder Elizabeth Sopher. "We will squeeze every drop out of the mentorship offered by OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises to maximize the impact of the funds. In the short term we will gain capacity through our partners and contractors and would likely hire in the longer term," she adds.  

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


Decibel Blue launches Decibel Green, a cannabis-focused marketing agency

Decibel Blue, a decade-old national digital marketing and public relations firm with offices in Denver and Phoenix, has launched a new sister agency, Decibel Green. The new agency will focus on cannabis and sustainability.

"Decibel Blue has been servicing cannabis clients for three years. It's the right time to give them more focus," says Decibel Blue Founder David Eichler. He explains that creating the sister agency will better position both companies to best serve their customers.

"My passion for cannabis is not only rooted in 30 years of enjoying it," Eichler says. "I have a chronically painful neck and my wife had cancer, thankfully a long time ago. I know first hand how powerful a medicine it can be. I am fortunate to have partners and a team who delivers incredible value to Decibel Blue's real estate, retail, healthcare and restaurant clients in both Denver and Phoenix. This deep bench allows me to focus on helping Decibel Green's clients achieve their goals."

The company has created local and national campaigns for the cannabis industry, already. In Washington, D.C., it's working with clients including the Marijuana Policy Project and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Locally, it has represented Puff, Pass & Paint and Your Green Contractor.

According to Eichler the company can advertise nationally, even though cannabis isn't legal across all the states. "Many dispensaries and content providers like Leafly do screen users by age when visiting their website. It's essential the industry is diligent and vigilant in making sure that cannabis is only being marketing legally, to adults," he says.

Decibel Green isn't the only cannabis-focused marketing agency in the U.S., according to Eichler. "There's plenty of business for everybody. What's important is that we foster a sense of community across every facet of this industry, including creative agencies."

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.


EatDenver, MSU Denver launch leadership incubator

EatDenver and Metropolitan State University of Denver have announced the Hospitality Leadership Incubator, a new boot camp to help restaurateurs boost their knowledge and skills in hospitality. The new program brings together educators and local hospitality leaders from companies like Chipotle and Restaurant Solutions.

"Because of the sheer volume of new restaurants, there's a greater need for a skilled workers who, ideally, will learn and grow alongside a restaurant or bar," explains Adam Schlegel, executive director of EatDenver, a local non­profit consisting of locally owned restaurants. "This program helps to address this need and will surely be a huge benefit to the city's restaurateurs."

 "We are testing the waters with this first session but due to the interest and registrations already, we anticipate continuing to offer and grow the Hospitality Leadership Incubator," Schlegel says. Indeed, in under a month the first boot camp is full. "Ideally, the Hospitality Leadership Incubator will be offered on an ongoing basis -- with even more courses added to the curriculum."

The first boot camp will include five courses starting July 12. Schlegel says the courses are aimed at preparing staff to advance within the hospitality industry. Each of the five sessions will last for two hours and will include hands-­on experience and coursework.

Contact Confluence Denver Innovation & Jobs News Editor Chris Meehan with tips and leads for future stories at chris@confluence-denver.com.

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