Opened in May, the 20,000-square-foot public campus is a spirited gathering place for creators, business builders, and innovators. Budding entrepreneurs use it to learn, share ideas, and launch new businesses, supported by free and low-cost resources and services that include events, programming, mentorships, and online resource guides.
Comcast’s technology infrastructure helps fuel much of the on-campus creativity. Through a partnership with the city of Denver, the Colorado Technology Association, the Downtown Denver Partnership, and others, we provided a superfast Multi-Gig Internet environment with fiber connectivity, full access to the X1 PlatformTM, unlimited WiFi and Internet access, and interactive video and conferencing technologies.
It’s a space with mile-high aspirations, but the goal for Comcast NBCUniversal is grounded in tangible thinking. It’s easier to create the next big idea if you have the full support of the innovation community, and thinking forward together helps us prepare for the future.
"We want to create a signature space for technology, expertise, and innovation," says Michael Soileau, Vice President of Competitive Planning and Strategy for Comcast. "We also want to create ongoing engagement with community thought leaders in a collaborative space. We believe it’s good for our business, good for local communities, and good for our cities."
Comcast NBCUniversal encourages innovation throughout our business, and 2015 was the year we put a stake in the ground for entrepreneurship in our communities. From young technologists and promising startup businesses, to public facilities in some of our most forward-thinking cities, we invested in and fostered innovation in all forms and places.
Michael and his team are building on the initial Denver project by partnering with four additional cities — Philadelphia; Chicago; Nashville, Tennessee; and New Haven, Connecticut — on similar infrastructure initiatives. The projects focus on strategic technology and community investments that drive economic development in these cities.
Other national efforts include partnerships like the Colorado Innovation Network, which leads and collaborates on programs, events, and initiatives that will drive Colorado’s innovation community. We are also a marquee sponsor of Chicago Ideas Week, a week-long communion of thinkers and instigators sharing ideas.
In 2015, Chief Business Development Officer Sam Schwartz deepened our relationships with the local and national startup community by recruiting Danielle Cohn as our first Senior Director of Entrepreneurial Engagement. Danielle is our company’s startup advocate, and her team is developing ongoing engagement and programming opportunities in startup communities nationwide.
Last year, Danielle led efforts to engage with more than 1,000 technology entrepreneurs and startups for Comcast NBCUniversal. That’s 1,000 potential partners, contributors, vendors, or employees — all with innovations they believe will shape the future.
"As a technology company, we’re always on the lookout for new, unique, and exciting partners, ideas, and products," says Sam. "We are truly passionate about supporting the next generation of founders through mentoring, partnerships, and other valuable relationships and resources."
Danielle says that when startups and entrepreneurs thrive, it does more than just give their ideas and products a boost. The communities around them begin to thrive as well. "We’ve seen the ability of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship to make lasting, positive change," she says. "That’s the power of the startup culture. After all, Comcast began as a startup, too. We want to encourage that drive in others."
The Tomorrow Tour is a shining example of our work to spark entrepreneurial innovation. In 2015, we laid the foundation for this groundbreaking multicity tour to amplify startup communities in the cities we serve. Important outcomes will include extensive research, reporting, and video documenting the startup scene in each city, and a free Entrepreneurs Resource Guide for early-stage startups.
In our hometown, we engage consistently with the local technology community through events, conferences, and partnerships with Philly Startup Leaders and Startup PHL, among others. As lead sponsor of Philly Tech Week, we celebrate and promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and dynamic career opportunities across the region. We open up our Comcast Center headquarters to host seminars, workshops, and resource events for aspiring technologists and entrepreneurs.
Some of these entrepreneurs are looking for Comcast business opportunities. Some are looking for employment. And some are simply partners in innovation — visionaries whom we want to support and encourage. To provide an easy point of entry for startups, we launched ComcastPartner.com, which showcases some of the ways we support entrepreneurs.
"We firmly believe that the next great ideas and technology leaders can come from anywhere," Danielle says. "They can come from any neighborhood in the cities we serve, or they can come from people sitting in a living room watching television. But wherever they come from, their innovations are going to power cities and move entire economies forward. That’s why we’re doing this."