Commons Launches Women on the Rise
The Commons on Champa will kick off new programming this month aimed at supporting the success of women entrepreneurs. Women on the Rise is one of the programs designed to elevate the commitment of The Commons to propel the economy forward through growing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by helping to remove barriers to underserved communities. The monthly series, which begins May 17, will feature intimate conversations with Denver’s female founders, innovators and business leaders.
“Denver has the fifth highest percentage of women-owned businesses in U.S., but we know that women and minorities often face significant barriers including lack of access to capital, networks and the skills necessary to lead and grow a business,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership and co-founder of The Commons. “It’s more important than ever to connect women entrepreneurs to the right resources so that we begin to see higher rates of success in building and growing successful women-owned businesses right here in our center city.”
Women on the Rise is a collaboration between The Commons, an initiative of the Downtown Denver Partnership and Traci Lounsbury, president and co-founder of ELEMENTS, a $66 million workplace furnishings and integrated interiors solutions company here in Denver. Lounsbury will serve as chair of the program and its first featured speaker.
“Despite starting businesses at a rate five times faster than our male counterparts, less than 2 percent of women-owned firms reach the million-dollar revenue threshold,” Lounsbury said. “When I heard that statistic, as a member of that 2 percent, I felt a strong responsibility to provide whatever support I could to help other women entrepreneurs break through to the next level.”
Lounsbury has more than two decades of experience at the helm of three successful multi-million dollar commercial interiors businesses in Colorado. She has been named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for the Mountain Desert region, an Enterprising Woman of the Year by the national Enterprising Women magazine, and recognized for leading one of the top woman-owned businesses in Denver by ColoradoBiz Magazine and the Denver Business Journal.
Emmy Award-winning 9NEWS anchor and reporter TaRohnda Thomas will interview Lounsbury for the inaugural event on May 17 from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. at The Commons. The breakfast event is free and open to the public. Women on the Rise will continue every third Wednesday through October. To RSVP, please visit: www.thecommons.co/event/women-on-the-rise-traci-lounsbury-ceo-of-elements/.
The Commons Women on the Rise programming is being supported, in part, by the recent $400,000 Inclusion Challenge grant The Commons was awarded by the Kauffman Foundation to help female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color achieve higher rates of success. In addition to the conversation series, The Commons also provides Women InCommons: Mentorship for Women Entrepreneurs, and CO.STARTERS at The Commons: Develop Your Business Idea, a nine-week program focused on women equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools, relationships, insights and support needed to turn dreams and ideas into thriving businesses. For more information on programming, please visit: http://www.thecommons.co/women/
About The Commons on Champa
The Commons on Champa is a first-of-its-kind public, private and nonprofit partnership that is a catalyst for economic development in Denver. It is built on three key elements – space, programming and community – to accelerate Downtown Denver’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. As a unique gathering place for Denver’s diverse community of business builders and innovators, The Commons emphasizes inclusivity and expands access for entrepreneurs in all industries through high quality programming, advanced technology, networking and other resources at low- to no-cost. The Commons was founded by the Downtown Denver Partnership, Colorado Technology Association and the City of County of Denver and with the support of 39 organizations who contributed time, resources and financial contributions including platinum partners Comcast, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Quarterly Forum and Liberty Global. The Commons is managed and operated by the Downtown Denver Partnership. For more information visit www.thecommons.co.
About the Downtown Denver Partnership
The Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc. partners with public, private and non-profit entities to implement high-impact strategies, outlined in the organization’s long-term strategy the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, to support its vision for an economically healthy, growing and vital Downtown Denver. For more information, visit www.downtowndenver.com.
Denver-based ELEMENTS is a full-service enterprise providing progressive furniture and architectural products that redefine how interior spaces are constructed. The company provides clients with dedicated professionals specializing in contract, government, education and healthcare, with access to more than 100 manufacturers, including brands such as DIRTT, Knoll, and Hon. ELEMENTS specializes in furniture layout, office and ancillary furniture consultation and installation, workplace trends, workstations, private offices, architectural and custom DIRTT pre-constructed walls, floor coverings, sound masking and signage products. For more information about ELEMENTS and its services throughout Colorado and Wyoming, visit www.workplaceelements.com.