DENVER, July 27, 2021 (Newswire.com) - The Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, Colorado (BEN Colorado) is pleased to announce its establishment as a 501(c)(3) Independent Nonprofit entity while also securing an additional grant from their catalyzing funders, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The $900,000 grant will allow BEN to continue serving the expanding Colorado entrepreneurial ecosystem and accelerate the next phase of growth, including an enhanced commitment to diversity and inclusion in the network.
- Accomplished and seasoned Advisors work with growth-stage Colorado entrepreneurs to provide give-first support, education, and counsel.
- 501(c)(3) distinction and a grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation allows BEN Colorado to scale and expand our commitment to accelerate growth for BEN CEOs and our long-standing dedication to inclusivity across the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- BEN Colorado companies represent $6.2B in revenue, $5.2B in funding, and employ over 16,800 people in Colorado.
BEN Colorado champions scaling CEOs in Colorado by engaging an extensive, diverse network of accomplished, well-established Advisors. Through curated and strategic pairings, Advisors and partners collaborate with CEOs to solve key strategic growth challenges. The entrepreneurs that BEN Colorado supports are at a unique stage in the entrepreneurial journey as their companies experience rapid growth in employees, customers, and revenue.
"We set out to create an entrepreneurial system focused specifically on supporting scaleup CEOs who are ready to expand and develop their businesses and talent, which was a shared vision with the original founders Brad Feld, Phil Weiser, and Senator Michael Bennet," says Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. "The next phase for BEN is to take the strong network developed over the past few years and open it up to those who have often been left out of entrepreneurship: Women, Veterans, and individuals from underserved communities."
BEN has a long history of promoting inclusivity across the Colorado entrepreneurial ecosystem, which will be further supported through the add-on grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Examples of these programs include:
- BEN Dens: A direct request from BEN CEOs as they navigated the unprecedented events of 2020, including the Female BEN Den, which creates community, peer-to-peer learning, and support.
- BEN Advisors Diversity Effort: 51% of all new Advisors who joined the network in 2020 were female, deepening the strength and perspectives of our advisor network for years to come.
- Community Partnerships: Over the past five years, BEN has partnered with the City and County of Denver to focus on underserved entrepreneurs through the Denver Scaleup Network, giving these CEOs access to the BEN Advisor network.
- Colorado Inclusive Economy: In 2020, BEN joined as a founding member, helping corporate leaders focus on their DEI efforts.
"BEN Colorado has built a reputation and team focused on the future of our strong entrepreneurial ecosystem for CEOs in Colorado," says Kay Henze, CEO & Executive Director of BEN Colorado. "We will continue to evolve while maintaining our mission of accelerating Colorado scaleup companies through curated connections, robust community, and inclusion. We're thrilled to have Blackstone's support for our continued outreach to a more diverse base of entrepreneurs."
The active and alumni BEN companies represent $6.2B in revenue, $5.2B in capital raised, and employ over 16,800 people in Colorado. The true impact of BEN is immeasurable, as the connections made between fellow entrepreneurs and members of the community go beyond quantitative statistics. BEN Advisors and CEOs consistently communicate that they will clear their calendars to engage across the network to collaborate with and champion the needs of entrepreneurs.
"The Denver/Boulder entrepreneurial ecosystem is built on the principles of collaboration, inclusivity, and education with the growth and support of entrepreneurs at the center of it all," says Brad Feld, Managing Director of Foundry Group. "BEN sits at the heart of this ecosystem and is fueled by a give-first ethos across its dynamic Advisor network that has evolved as the needs of entrepreneurs have become more complex. This has resulted in more scaleup CEOs growing themselves and their companies in Colorado. With the ongoing support from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, BEN will continue to champion scaleup entrepreneurs to grow their companies, elevate our community, and be a force for good."
BEN Colorado exists to serve the CEO, as this role has become more complex over the last seven years. Giving support to a more diverse group of Colorado CEOs is the fastest and most successful way to impact companies, the community, and the entire Colorado ecosystem. Now, as an independent non-profit coupled with the grant provided by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, BEN is positioned to give first, foster inclusivity, and thrive alongside these entrepreneurs.
Contact information related to this announcement:
Kay Henze, CEO & Executive Director
Emilie Stanton, Global Public Affairs
Source: BEN, Colorado