By Shelby Schwartz
From Student to Intern
I am a recent graduate from the University of Colorado Denver 11-Month MBA Program currently working at the Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP). Although I was not an entrepreneurship student, I was able to connect to the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship through the Center’s Director, Dr. Madhavan “MP” Parthasarathy. MP taught the 11-Month MBA Program’s marketing course and played an active role in integrating the 11-Month MBA cohort into the Entrepreneurship Center. For example, we were encouraged to attend THE CLIMB | Pitch Night Competition Finals in 2016, and attended again in April 2017 to support one of our 11-Month MBA classmates who participated. MP also invited several entrepreneurs to speak to our cohort and took us on a tour of American Furniture Warehouse, led by Jake Jabs himself.
Although my MBA program was not entrepreneurial in focus, MP gave us the opportunity to meet, connect with, and learn from local entrepreneurs. When the DDP expressed interest in connecting the Partnership’s internship program with the Entrepreneurship Center, MP extended this opportunity to my cohort. Thanks to MP and Sarah Engel, Assistant Director for the Jake Jabs Center, I interviewed with the DDP, which ultimately led to being hired as an intern. I interned for the DDP from May until June, working on events, communication, and planning. This internship allowed me to work with several departments within DDP as well as on several projects.
From Intern to Full-Time
Upon completing my internship, the DDP offered me a position as the Program Liaison for Denver Startup Week’s Ambassadors Program. Denver Startup Week (DSW) is the nation’s largest, FREE, entrepreneurial event, and the Ambassadors Program is an initiative of DSW that brings 50 tech and startup leaders from across the United States to Denver for three days of DSW. During their stay, the Ambassadors will meet local leaders, tour six local startup companies, attend DSW programming, and network with local entrepreneurs. The Ambassadors Program seeks to connect Denver’s entrepreneurial community with other entrepreneurial ecosystems across the United States.
My position at the DDP pulls together a skillset from several topics within my MBA Program. I am responsible for planning, content generation, outreach and communication, organization and logistics, budgeting and financials, and internal team communication for the Ambassadors Program. I am also assisting with sponsorship and venues for DSW, content generation and outreach around DSW, and organizing/maintaining logistical and planning information for the DSW team. I continue to work with multiple DDP departments on special projects including DDP’s Annual Meeting, Bike to Work Day, the 5280 Loop, Taste of Colorado, and CollaborEAT.
Additionally, I work closely with DDP’s entrepreneurship and co-working center, The Commons on Champa. The Commons provides a location for local entrepreneurs to work, collaborate, and grow. The Commons coordinates programming for a wide range of entrepreneurial, technology, and startup topics and hosts Women on the Rise, a monthly program for female entrepreneurs. The Commons also initiated a program funded by the Kaufmann Foundation called CO.STARTERS, which selects a cohort of 15-20 local entrepreneurs to learn business basics, receive and provide feedback on their startup ideas, and build out their business plans.
I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to intern with the Downtown Denver Partnership. This incredible experience has connected me to Denver and the local business community in a way that would not have been possible on my own. Thanks to the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship, my position at the Downtown Denver Partnership has allowed me to be a part of growing and bettering this amazing city.
About Denver Startup Week
This year, Denver Startup Week is September 25-29th. With more than 300 sessions spanning a variety of topics, DSW has something for everyone! Register for Startup Week and learn more about the sessions here.
The Commons on Champa plays a central role in cultivating Denver’s entrepreneurial community and will serve as “Basecamp” for Denver Startup Week. Basecamp is DSW’s main hub for headline events, programming, the very first year of the DSW Mentorship Program, and more. Along with over 80 local companies, Basecamp will be filled with sessions, panels, talks, and happy hours during Denver Startup Week.