The Southwest Innovation Corridor is a collaborative effort to connect, support, and invest in efforts to increase innovation and entrepreneurial activity throughout the southwest region of Colorado. Find out more about SWIC partners below!

Since 2000, the Telluride Foundation has provided support to help ensure that this beautiful mountain area thrives for years to come. They supply the region with the resources necessary to improve the quality of life and meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. While Telluride connects us to nature with exceptional sights and activities, the Foundation connects the entire region to create a tight-knit community. 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.The Telluride Foundation is the grantee for the i6, AII and JFF grants that collectively has launched the SWIC initiative. 

Located in Durango, FLC is a public, liberal arts college serving 3,789 students.  FLC provides a tuition-free education for qualified Native Americans and awards approximately 16% of baccalaureate degrees earned by Native American students in the nation.  In 2008, FLC was designated as one of six Native American-serving, non-tribal colleges by the U.S. Department of Education.  SWIC will leverage FLC’s new $34 million engineering and computer science center, including a robotics lab, as well as its strong faculty expertise in engineering, computer science, and business.  Furthermore, SWIC will capitalize on its strong degree students in engineering, computer science and business to create and support new start-up ventures.

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 mission of reinventing what is possible in a mountain town by establishing Telluride as a true hub of innovation through a series of community driven programs and offerings that support entrepreneurs at any stage. Over the past four years, TVA has pioneered the way for the conversation around building real companies in a mountain town.  As the first accelerator of it’s kind in the world, it has proven that real companies can build and thrive here.  Since 2012, 18 startup companies have graduated the program and four “partner” companies supported raising over $22.8 million dollars with the help of an incredible network of more than 90 mentors.  Also, over 92 full time jobs have been created as a result of affiliated companies with over 60% staying in Colorado and 21 in Telluride. 86% of the companies are still active. TVA expanded its programs in 2016 and is collaborating with other regional business development organizations to create a “Southwest Innovation Corridor,” an effort to connect disparate efforts and build capacity in the innovation eco-system in the rural southwest region of the state.  Other TVA related projects include Mountain Ventures Summit and Telluride Entrepreneurs Meetup. 

TVF is a $2 million early stage fund (and currently raising a second fund of up to $5 million) focused on equity investments in seed or early stage companies.  The fund focuses on the Telluride and Colorado Plateau regions and has four main goals: (1) be a catalyst for high-growth businesses; (2) serve as an essential component of the developing entrepreneurial ecosystem; (3) support “impact investing” (investments to generate measurable social impact alongside a financial return); and (4) provide attractive returns for its investors.  TVF looks closely at each graduating company from TVA’s Demo Day and has invested in over 50% of TVA companies. TVF investors include successful entrepreneurs and private equity and venture capital investors with an extensive network of contacts and expertise. TVF investors frequently provide sidecar funding, increasing by 50% the amount of capital invested in early stage firms.

Created in 2013, SCAPE works to promote entrepreneurship, providing key resources and ensuring businesses will be sustainable and have potential to grow. Through their intensive four month accelerator program, SCAPE provides selected ventures with funding, education, and mentoring. SCAPE’s accelerator program is built around their “startup savvy” mentors group, which includes company founders, investors, and consultants who both contribute time and provide seed money for these businesses. Ventures businesses may receive up to $30,000 in the form of an equity investment that is tied to certain curriculum milestones. 

Region 9 Economic Development District of SW Colorado, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)6 public/private partnership that promotes and coordinates economic development efforts throughout Southwest Colorado. Incorporated in 1989, Region 9 is led by a board of directors comprised of representatives from the 17 local governmental jurisdictions and 9 from the private sector. Region 9 serves the counties of Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan, and the cities and towns within those regions, as well as the Southern Ute and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes.

The Region 9's mission is to be a regional leader, working cooperatively with the private and public sectors to enhance the economic conditions in the area, and improve the region's economic prosperity.

Region 9 EDD offers a revolving loan program for "gap" financing to assist small business retention, expansion and job creation and a micro-enterprise loan program for loans up to $100,000 for qualifying small businesses with five or fewer employees. In addition to loan programs, Region 9 EDD administers the Colorado Enterprise Zone Tax Credit program, publishes the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) to assist local communities with regional economic development strategic planning and technical assistance and helps to administer different State and Federal programs.

Region 9 is a partner in and helped launch SCAPE and the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Established in 1972, Region 10 is a member‐driven, private, not‐for‐profit 501c(3) organization governed by twenty‐ two elected representatives of local governments and twelve non‐elected citizens appointed by the six county boards of commissioners representing the six western Colorado counties Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel.

MISSION: Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning provides programs and services that meet the needs of the people in the region, are cost-effective, reduce the burden of local governments, leverage available resources, and support our charitable status.

At least one‐third of the Board of Directors represents private industry, labor or education.   Committees work under the Board in the areas of economic development planning, senior and disabled services, business loans, transit planning and transportation planning.

Region 10’s program activities include:     1.) Comprehensive Economic Development Planning   2.) Business Loan Fund    3.) Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Program   4.) Community Living Services/Area Agency on Aging 5.) Gunnison Valley Transportation Planning Region   6.) Enterprise Center Building (Business and Non‐profit Incubator).   As the collective voice of six west‐central Colorado counties, Region 10 provides leadership and guidance in supporting communities, diversifying the regional economy, and creating prosperity. As one of the fourteen regional organizations in Colorado, Region 10 serves with the others as an essential catalyst for building regional partnerships and local capacity.    For more information on Region 10, see:    



Housed within the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) works to foster a more innovative U.S. economy focused on turning new ideas and inventions into products and technologies that spur job growth and competitiveness while promoting economic development.

EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) leads the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. The program is authorized through the America COMPETES reauthorization Act of 2010 and received dedicated appropriations for the first time in fiscal year 2014.

The Telluride Foundation SWIC initiative was awarded an i6 Challenge grant in the 2016 round, a total of $15 million in Federal funding was available for the creation and expansion of cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs and early-stage seed capital funds through the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant competition, respectively.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) Advanced Industries (AI) Accelerator Programs were created in 2013 to promote growth and sustainability in these industries by driving innovation, accelerating commercialization, encouraging public-private partnerships, increasing access to early-stage capital and creating a strong infrastructure that increases the state’s capacity to be globally competitive.

As part of the statewide strategy to support these critical industries in their various phases of growth, OEDIT offers four types of grants and two global business programs. The four targeted grant types available are: Proof of Concept, Early-Stage Capital and Retention, Infrastructure Funding, and AI Exports. A network of consultants and an export training program are also available as part of the AI Global Business Programs to support these industries as they strive for worldwide markets.

The Telluride Foundation in partnership with Ft. Lewis College’s Physics and Engineering Department received an AI Infrastructure grant to support the SWIC initiative in 2016.


The Johnson Family Foundation (JFF) supports the development of healthy, vibrant and just communities where individuals, families and the next generation of leaders will thrive.

 JFF funds programs to improve the health of our environment; promote equality and social progress; and support education and youth.