Culture of Innovation

An ecosystem of innovation that changes the world


With deep connections to our world-class educational network coupled with impactful investment, public and private innovation thrives here. It’s part of our cultural identity. It’s not just luck that Colorado is well-known for innovation. We’ve created an environment where outside-the-box thinkers have what they need to grow.


Innovation Hubs

Aurora’s cultivation of industries and changemakers has created “innovation hubs” – clusters of facilities and companies where innovation happens in real-time. These span across healthcare, bioscience, renewable energy, aerospace, defense, and more. These ‘hubs’ draw interest from around the globe, acting as magnets for innovators who want to be near the heart of their industry’s transformation.

Fitzsimons Innovation Community


Investing in Innovation

Investment allows innovation to flourish. In the past 10 years, the Small Business Administration has awarded $34 million to Aurora companies through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Many Aurora companies that capture a significant amount of funding do so because of their ties to activity anchored in our innovation hubs in the healthcare and bioscience industries.

2019-2020 SBIR Award companies in Aurora

Impressio, Inc.

$224,999 awarded in 2020

Bioscience industry

Clearsight, LLC

$750,000 awarded in 2020

Bioscience industry

ICR, Inc.

$157,385 awarded in 2019

Defense industry

Clearsight, LLC

$225,000 awarded in 2019

Bioscience industry

Starfire Energy Inc.

$200,000 awarded in 2019

Renewable energy industry

Z Biotech, LLC

$571,833 awarded in 2019

Bioscience industry

Venture capital

Since 2015, Aurora companies raised $178 million in venture capital funding. More than 1/3 went to healthcare technology systems, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology companies.

Venture capital

Growing Startup Ecosystem

Colorado’s startup ecosystem has steadily grown over time, transforming into a powerhouse for attracting venture capital. Venture capital activity grew 30% in the state in 2019 versus 2018, continuing the upward trend seen in the state over the past 10 years. 390 venture capital deals raised nearly $2.5 billion in 2019 for Colorado companies, ranking the state 7th for venture capital investment and 6th in per capita investment.

An environment to grow in

Leading indicators show that our community is the perfect place to start and grow a business.


Patents per 1,000 workers

2015, MSA U.S. Patent Office


New Establishment Growth

5-year CAGR, MSA Bureau of Labor Statistics


New Establishment Licenses

Aurora, 2019 City of Aurora


Unicorn Companies

MSA, 2019 Denver Business Journal, 2019


Entrepreneurs thrive here

Colorado has nearly four times the percentage of proprietors in total employment as the U.S. largely due to the nurturing environment for entrepreneurs starting new businesses.

The tech factor

Colorado’s growing presence as a prominent tech hub is undeniable. Culturally unique from Silicon Valley and with more affordable options, Colorado offers a different environment to innovate in. As tech hubs on the coasts continue to price out startups, the trend of new and existing tech companies flocking to Colorado is likely to continue.