BOULDER, Colo., July 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network in Colorado (BEN Colorado) today announced that Brad Feld, a well-known national venture capital investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has committed $100,000 to kick off the program's new capital campaign. The announcement was made by Greg Greenwood, Executive Director of BEN Colorado. Feld, who is a Founding Steering Committee member at BEN Colorado since its inception in 2014, is a resident of Boulder, Colorado, and a managing director of Foundry Group and a co-founder of TechStars.
BEN Colorado received seed money as a part of a three-year grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative. The effort is designed to support entrepreneurs, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth in targeted regions globally by leveraging the resources and intellectual capital of Blackstone, a leading global investment firm. BEN Colorado has committed to become self-sustaining by the time the pilot period is completed.
Blackstone identified Colorado as a vibrant entrepreneurial region needing better connections between its various high growth industries and geographies. BEN Colorado accomplishes this by identifying top entrepreneurs and business leaders to work with and help scale Colorado's most promising companies. To date, BEN Colorado has worked with over 70 companies to identify and address their growth challenges. The current network of BEN Colorado companies employed over 6,000 people, and generated more than $1.4 billion in revenue last year.
"Brad Feld's donation clearly establishes a solid foundation for our capital campaign," said Greenwood. "Brad's enthusiasm for the BEN Colorado initiative and generous donation of his expertise and resources over the past two years have been paramount in making BEN Colorado what it is today. With the successful nurturing of more than 70 promising high-growth companies under our belt, the program is making a positive impact in the Colorado entrepreneurial ecosystem, helping scale-up companies grow more effectively as a result of peer-to-peer mentoring, guidance, and connections. BEN Colorado will continue to engage additional community partners that deliver significant value to our network CEOs and companies in the Front Range area to help us ensure our meaningful effort is solidified."
Blackstone Praise for BEN Colorado
BEN Colorado is recognized as a one of the signature programs of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative.
Commenting on the capital campaign, "BEN Colorado exemplifies the transformation that can happen when local communities collaborate to tackle big problems," said Steve Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone. "Brad Feld shares Blackstone's mission and we thank him for his tireless efforts helping entrepreneurs build the innovative, successful companies Colorado needs to ensure future growth."
Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, said "Brad Feld has been a true advocate of the BEN Colorado program since its inception, and his generous gift is the cornerstone in a campaign that will develop a sustainable program in support of our mission to further entrepreneurship and job growth in Colorado. We have watched BEN Colorado achieve ambitious goals over the last two years and look forward to its continued success."
Valued Supporter of our Community
"The collaboration with Brad Feld and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is a natural for our community," said Phil Weiser, Executive Director and Founder of the University of Colorado's Silicon Flatirons Center, which hosts BEN Colorado. "BEN Colorado is a great community asset and Brad's leadership is critical to enabling us to sustain this Network developed with Blackstone's guidance and support."
About BEN Colorado
The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network in Colorado (BEN Colorado) is funded by a $3 million gift to the University of Colorado at Boulder to develop a strong entrepreneurial community to support high-growth Colorado-based companies. Its objective is to identify promising Colorado companies and provide meaningful connections to help these companies scale. Learn more at: http://www.bencolorado.org/
SOURCE Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network