2016 Schedule

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Tuesday, Sep 13
9:00am — 10:00am
Location TBA
201 attending

Startups & Diversity: The Challenges and Opportunities

Diversity matters to startups, yet women and minority entrepreneurs are underrepresented in the ecosystem. This conversation will focus on the challenges women and minorities face as startup founders and employees, the strengths of a diverse workforce, and how startups can address unconscious biases and build diverse teams. It also will highlight Colorado-based nonprofit organizations available to assist undeserved entrepreneurs. In addition, “The State of Tech Startups: Diversity & Inclusion” report will be unveiled. This independent survey, commissioned by Techstars in collaboration with Chase, identifies why diversity is important to startups and describes specific actions startup founders can take to create an inclusive work environment.

Joe Coleman
Joe is the Colorado Market Manager for Business Banking at Chase.

Gwendolyn Bonilla
Gwen is the Market Manager and Senior Regional Loan Officer at Accion in Denver. Accion is the largest and only nationwide nonprofit connecting micro- and small business owners with the financing and support it takes to create or grow healthy businesses.

Allyson Downey
Allyson is an entrepreneur, writer, and founder of weeSpring, a Techstars-backed startup that helps new and expecting parents collect advice from their friends about what they need for their baby. She is also the author of the forthcoming book Here's the Plan, the pregnancy and parenting guide to your professional life.

Jesse Esparza
Jesse is owner of Morning Sun Enterprises LLC. His business provides workshops, seminars and one-on-one business counseling to small business owners in Spanish and English through several Colorado Small Business Development Centers, including the Boulder County SBDC. Also, he is currently working with a variety of other organizations, developing programs to help underserved entrepreneurs in Boulder County.

Monique Lovato
Monique is the CEO and Executive Director at Mi Casa Resource Center, which is Colorado’s oldest and largest Latino-serving nonprofit organization helping build economic success of Latino families and entrepreneurs.

Julie Penner
Julie is a Director at Techstars, a 13 week mentorship-driven accelerator for software technology startups running 23 programs year around and around the world. Prior to Techstars, Julie was the VP of Operations for Graphicly, a VC-backed company automating ebooks conversions and distribution platforms. Prior to that, she was a Corporate Development Analyst at Liberty Media and Liberty Interactive. She holds an JD/MBA from University of Colorado with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and a BA from Brown University. Other work includes positions at SRS, a company that manages escrows and holdbacks in VC-backed M&A deals, Lijit (now Sovrn), a VC-backed adtech company, and the CU Tech Transfer Office. She began her career at Zeo, a Boston-based VC-backed startup that developed a sleep-tracking consumer hardware product.

Also: Techstars, along with Chase for Business, recently commissioned an independent survey that identifies why diversity is important to startups and describes specific actions startup founders can take to create an inclusive work environment.