This week I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat to help lead a ground-breaking inaugural outreach to develop an exchange of innovation between Denver and London and the greater UK. The most exciting aspect of this partnership is the cooperation between the public and private sector as we forged new relationships and identified new opportunities. The Denver Economic Development and Opportunity office and The UK Department for International Trade, along with London and Partners and the UK Foreign Trade office hosted 5 innovative Tech Entrepreneurs this week in and around London Tech Week Events. The UK welcomed us with open arms and more than one cup of coffee as we discussed political climate, economic development opportunities, and in short, how we could link arms together to create a seamless flow of business between the heartland of America and the gateway to Europe.
Our Colorado Entrepreneur Delegates consisted of Tech Focused companies that already lead our economy. This includes myself, Matt Frary, Chief of Chaos at SmarterChaos, (a digital marketing and customer acquisition solutions provider). It also includes Andrea Pearson, CMO of Dispatch Health an (on demand urgent care platform), Shail Mehta, CEO/Founder of The Last Gameboard (a physical and virtual gaming platform), Charles Von Thun, Chairman of RemoteLock, (an access control as a Service, focused in the vacation rental, retail and short term rental market) and Jon Nordmark, Founder and CEO of Iterate.ai (an end to end innovation workflow platform).
The 4 key takeaways our Delegation received were:
1. Companies and Government Departments that wouldn’t normally interact can in fact create new and interesting partnerships to build unforeseen opportunities. We had members of Parliament such as Dr. Liam Fox, the UK Secretary of State for International Trade spoke directly to our group of start-up Entrepreneurs inspiring us one on one to think differently about how to approach issues and to work directly with the UK to bring our certain brand of collaboration and innovation to London.
2. Brexit is just a distraction for the tech sector and startups that has minimal concern for our companies as we break down the actual borders and create a virtual borderless eco-system. The Department for International Trade has done a wonderful job of ensuring that disruption will be minimal and that we can accelerate past Brexit into a much more blue ocean opportunity.
3. There are unexpected and very creative solutions for real problems that exist in the tech sector in Britain. We expected before we came on this Delegation Trip to London Tech week that there are great companies, but we have confirmed that such creative companies exist in the London and UK technology scene that are ready to activate and get to work to solve global challenges together. We knew that there must be innovative solutions out there, but to create this bridge between our countries has now created a super-highway of ideas to flow.
4. Not only did we find conversations interesting, but we have been able to activate real sales discussions and opportunities in real time before we even go home. There were multiple occasions that during our meetings and sessions that several of the Entrepreneurs in the group made deals or started to make deals right during the session. This was an opportunity to do actual business, rather than just talking about it.
Frannie Matthews, CEO of Colorado Technology Association says, “Some of the most productive moments were unexpected. We were able to get a group of Entrepreneurs and Private Sector folks in the room together and like a bunch of fireflies, the ideas sparked and lit the way for actual opportunities to ignite.”
Adding to that, Tim Martinez, Global Business Development Manager at Denver Economic Development and Opportunity expressed, “Denver and London are so much more parallel in our values and opportunities than other markets, which raises our profiles as cities to compete arm-in-arm in a global technology eco-system where together we can punch above our weight class and capture true value.”
Often as we grind and “hustle” our way through building our businesses, we start to lose a part of ourselves. At least, that’s how it’s been for me over the last 20 years. We look at chasing the almighty dollar almost like a religion, and we start to feel more and more empty inside. I’ve been reflecting and focusing on this over the last few years, and I have decided to do something about it. First, I took some time to build a spiritual relationship with God, and with myself and my family. Second, I’ve looked at those around me to whom I can make an impact. I’d like your help and we can grow together! Would you be willing to help leave a legacy in this world with me? Can we all start looking both inward and outward to improve the world around us? #givefirst
Let’s start chipping away at these large problems together. Problems like hunger, the environment, equality, loneliness, obesity, homelessness, and much more are begging for people to make a difference every single day. We can’t tackle them all at once, and we can’t even tackle one of them all at once. What we can do, is try every day to make a small difference, which leads to many of us making small differences everyday, which then leads to many of us making a big difference over time. I feel strongly that we are called to serve, and for those legacy-minded individuals, which is better……a legacy of giving and making an impact, or fast cars and fancy homes? I’d prefer the first and I hope you will join me.
We would like to connect you with our family, our family mission, and an opportunity coming up next month for you and our family. I rarely ask for anything, but I feel strongly about our upcoming family mission. We have prayed hard to find ways to make an impact and a legacy in this world, and we believe this is the start of something amazing. Our family mission most recently has been to find more ways to give back. We go with #givefirst in our family, and we feel we have the perfect opportunity coming up.
We are very excited to head to Peru later next month where we will be working with a community center in Lima and an orphanage in Cusco to help underprivileged children. Among other things, we think this will be a great way to show our kids first-hand the value of giving to the less fortunate and how they can make a direct impact on people’s lives. We feel that our kids’ focus on Spanish should make their interactions with Peruvian kids even more meaningful and they are really excited to help.
For the trip, we are joining our dear friends the Unruhs and their kids, we are blessed everyday to know them. The Unruhs have partnered both with the Elim Orphanage in Cusco as well as the Lost Children of Peru community center in Lima, so we’re excited to piggy-back off of their history and prior experiences in Peru. Among other things, our goal is to bring supplies to the children at both locations.
Our family is not asking for anything for ourselves as we just feel blessed to be able to go down and help. However, as part of this effort, we are asking if you are interested to donate some funds to help cover some portion of the estimated $3500 to cover building 1 house, and then we are looking to raise $100,000 to help re-build the Girl’s Home in Elim. We are also using a portion of the donation for supplies to paint and repair sinks in the existing girl’s home.
If you can’t provide a monetary donation, we are also collecting phones and laptops for the school and the girl’s home as well. Please drop those with me, or send them to us and we will take them down to Peru with us.
Please do not feel obligated to contribute, but, if this is of interest, you can donate by clicking on this LINK: and receive a tax deduction. Alternatively you can donate with cash or check, with checks being made out to ‘Come Unto Me’. If you can make a corporate donation, please and THANK YOU!
Again, there is no pressure, but any contributions will be very much appreciated and should go a long way.
May we all be blessed in this world, may we create prosperity for ourselves and others, and may we always think about what we can #givefirst and build the better world that we want to see in our lifetime, and for our kids.
Cheers, and God Bless!