Durango is nestled in the San Juan Mountains in the southwest corner of Colorado. This rural mountain community is a sought-out destination with epic scenery, adventure recreation, a historic downtown, and Native American heritage.
Far more than a tourist town, Durango has a thriving business community and is home to the cutting-edge Fort Lewis College. The charming community attracts students, outdoor enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs alike who seek success through a balanced lifestyle.
The Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE) was created to fill a gap in the local economy by supporting entrepreneurs looking to build a business independent of the tourism industry. SCAPE helps shine a light on their big ideas through its accelerator program, which provides education, access to funding, intense mentoring, and a pitch showcase to help launch their early-stage companies.
Since its inception in 2013, the accelerator program has graduated 36 companies headquartered across southwest Colorado, created 152 jobs and raised over $25 million in capital to grow their businesses. SCAPE works with companies from a variety of sectors including outdoor recreation, media, service, technology, and even aerospace.
In spring of 2020, SCAPE moved its headquarters to the Fort Lewis College Center for Innovation alongside the Small Business Development Center of Southwest Colorado, Fort Lewis School of Business Administration, and the Southern Ute Tribe. The collaborative space offers support to business at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey.
What RIN means to Durango
“The Rural Innovation Network has been invaluable to SCAPE and our service area. We are inspired by our collaboration with other rural community champions and benefit greatly from the organizational education offered to Network members.
"This support has also benefited our Durango residents by offering programming that directly helps them gain digital skills. We look forward to all of the additional opportunities to come with this partnership.”
Brittany Cupp, SCAPE Outreach Coordinator
Explore our Network
Today, these local leaders are focused on educating and training local residents in digital skills (especially those traditionally excluded from the tech industry), employing them in new economy jobs, and empowering them to launch startups that will drive a prosperous 21st-century economy. Diverse in geography, economic origin, and demographics, these communities represent the full spectrum of rural America.