The economy of Colorado used to be dependent on the state's natural resources and telecom, with few high-tech employment opportunities, even in downtown Denver. Rather than move to Colorado for a job or to start a company, people would move for the 300 days of sunshine and year-round outdoors adventures.
So, how did Colorado's economy become one of the most dynamic in the country?
The New York Times credits part of the growth and expansion of the Colorado economy to business leaders and government officials in their article, "Cities on the Sunny Side of the American Economy." However, the article includes another major factor at play: Denver has become a magnet to educated millennials. This new demographic plays a major role in the growth of Denver.
Companies need to recruit great talent for their businesses to grow and Colorado has distinct advantages to attract this talent.
According to the article, the ideal lifestyle of those in their 20s and 30s includes quality public transit, a "medley of urban living," and a wide variety of entertainment options.
Just recently, Denver put in new light rails including one from downtown to the airport and other from outlying suburbs into the city. Additionally, the entertainment options, especially for outdoor activities, in Colorado have always been an attraction--we have an amphitheater made of solid rock--but with the recent surge of new, innovative restaurants downtown, and most notably the legalization of marijuana in 2014, the options for entertainment have been especially attracting to a broader range of people.
Companies of all kinds are beginning to understand the magnet Denver has become, and have begun moving to the Denver/Boulder area especially. There is a new depth in Denver's market which includes established companies, but more excitingly, Startups.
As a 20 year old college student, the increase of startups in the Denver area, and Colorado in general, is just as magnetizing as the new mile-high activities. I've found that at the University of Denver, there has been a huge increase in the excitement surrounding startups (take Project-XITE, for example) . Startups have a more relaxed work environment, the people are better, and it's just more fun in general--or so we've heard.
Startups seem to be a hot topic on-campus, especially with summer internships beginning. Plus, Startup Weekend DU was just held, giving students a taste of the startup world. Very few negative comments or experiences are heard about startups on the University of Denver campus.
Startups are also proving themselves to be wildly successful in Denver, like Ibotta. Started by Bryan Leach just in 2012 with one other employee, the company now has over 200 employees and is located in an office Denver's tallest tower. When Leach said that he was excited to be part of the generation that is building the new Denver economy, he speaks for everyone.
Who wouldn't want to be part of a city that is one of the few metropolitan areas to thrive since the recession? Denver is increasing in size, activities and entertainment; with an economy that isn't just growing in terms profit, but depth and diversity as well.
Check out the New York Times full article about the thriving Colorado economy here, with special mentions of Ibotta: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/01/business/economy/cities-where-us-economy-is-thriving.html?_r=1