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2021 Rural Entrepreneurial Policy Academy, August 3rd and 4th

Applications are open for the 2021 Rural Entrepreneurial Policy Academy. In its second year, the entrepreneurial policy academy offers business owners the opportunity to learn how to contribute to public policy.  Application deadline is July 16, and the academy will commence on August 3rd and 4th, with the culminating policy forum on August 23. 

 The academy and forum result from a collaborative initiative between the Telluride Foundation, the Silicon Flatirons Center, and Startup Colorado. The group was selected in 2020 as one of nine Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation entrepreneurship advocates to inform local, regional, and national policy debates with the voices of entrepreneurs. The academy, hosted through the Silicon Flatirons Center, will serve eight of Startup Colorado’s in-network, rural entrepreneurs. 

The live virtual policy forum, hosted by the Telluride Foundation, will engage key state and federal agency representatives. Last year’s forum was attended by Governor Jared Polis, as well as Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet. 

Contributing to public policy conversations and processes can often require a significant investment in both time and resources. This can prevent meaningful participation by many communities – including entrepreneurs and small businesses – 89% of which have 15 or fewer employees.

 “Too often and for too long, America’s policymakers have misguidedly prioritized big business over new business,” said Jason Wiens, the Policy Director in Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. 

“The grants in this portfolio will bring new ideas and voices to policy debates so that entrepreneurship is no longer an afterthought. Together, they will level the playing field so that anyone with an idea has access to the opportunity, funding, knowledge, and support to turn it into a reality.” 

For Colorado, the Rural Entrepreneurial Policy Academy is a unique opportunity to develop a transformative educational experience that supports the voice and advocacy of entrepreneurs and leaders during a critical time. This academy aims to teach entrepreneurs the tools necessary to engage and influence policy decisions at a local and state level. The addition of these underrepresented voices to policy conversations can help ensure that the outcomes of those conversations are stronger and more representative of the entire population.

“We are proud to join the Kauffman Foundation’s national effort while aligning state goals and rural needs. Our academy merges the need for policy engagement and entrepreneur advocacy,” said Paul Major, President, Telluride Foundation.

 As a result of COVID-19, the program will remain virtual in 2021, with details being continually adjusted in service to public health demands. For more email, or apply today at