Mara Hardy

Mara Hardy

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership announced this week that Mara Hardy was awarded the inaugural Anchor Point Foundation’s Startup Champion Award in partnership with the Greater Colorado Venture Fund and Startup Colorado.

Hardy is the business development manager for GJEP.

The award, which was presented during a virtual session with Foundry Group’s Brad Feld and Techstars’ David Brown during West Slope Startup Week on Tuesday, was presented to three individuals in rural Colorado who have demonstrated a strong commitment and dedication to their communities and to efforts that support and elevate local entrepreneurship.

The three recipients receive a $10,000 grant from the Anchor Point Foundation to further support activities that grow local entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Hardy joined GJEP in 2018 to help businesses interested in relocation and expansion primarily in the technology, aerospace and healthcare industries. She quickly immersed herself in the local startup community, working closely with the Business Incubator Center and joining the planning committee for Techstars Startup Week West Slope, which launched in Western Colorado in June 2019 and is now in its second year.

Hardy moved to the Western Slope from Denver where she had started her own consulting company, Inland Planning, to help communities implement their own initiatives and plans. Prior to consulting, Hardy worked at the Colorado Water Conservation Board, where she directed TAP-IN Colorado, a program that connects the entrepreneurial and water sectors.

“We are so proud to have Mara on our team,” said Robin Brown, GJEP Executive Director. “In two years, she has proven to be an immeasurable asset, spearheading efforts to mobilize the entrepreneurial ecosystem across western Colorado and elevating the local tech industry by recruiting new business, like INFOCU5, to the Grand Valley. This award is well-deserved.”

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