Corine Waldau, Director of Events, Programs and Workforce for the Boulder Chamber
The importance of the Colorado Companies to Watch nominations
Since joining the Boulder Chamber five years ago, Corine Waldau has personally worked with 40 Colorado Companies to Watch Winners as a nominator and Community Partner, and she’s practically got the system down to a science.
“We have been partnering with CCTW since 2009,” said Waldau, who currently serves as the chamber’s Director of Events, Programs and Workforce. “I’ve had the opportunity to learn how important Boulder’s contributions are to the program.”
Boulder has been a big city for CCTW Winners. There have been 91 Winners from Boulder in the 10 years of the program. Nine companies won in 2018, and Boulder’s largest year for Winners was in 2012 with a total of 15.
“Over the last five years, I’ve told my story to a lot of other Community Partners, and I think our role is to make sure we submit our nominations early and that we are highlighting the deserving companies of our community. It really helps to drive the overall process and ensures a good selection of winners.”
A CCTW Community Partner is a volunteer position typically held by a representative of an economic development organization in a given city. Community Partners put in a lot of time helping CCTW nominee companies through the process; from their first applications to the preliminary award events, and all the way through to the Winners Celebrations.
“CCTW allows us to highlight and thank the many companies representing our thriving economy and share those accolades with the rest of the state,” Waldau said. “Winners come from a variety of industries including technology, aerospace, research, natural foods, bioscience, clean tech, outdoors, and more. It’s very representative of our economy in Boulder and it gives us an opportunity to share the stories that exemplify Boulder’s unique innovation economy.”
There have been a huge number of memorable CCTW Winners from Boulder—Winners who went on to surpass 2nd Stage growth and become household names.
“So many have Boulder CCTW winners have grown to attain national and international recognition,” she said. “Survey Gizmo, Evol Food, Chocolove, Camp Bow Wow, Justin’s Nut Butter—PopSockets won last year, and since then their sales are through the roof! It’s been fun to witness their growth!”
In between being named a CCTW Winner and skyrocketing to success, there is a Winners Celebration that Community Partners work very hard to facilitate. The CCTW Winner Celebrations allow Winners to share their award and successes with their extended community. These individualized events come in many shapes and sizes.
“They are so unique in how each of them runs,” Waldau said. “What I’ve found is that you really need to go to the company. You can’t make requirements about the look or feel or flow. We make this about what they need and what they want.”
She said: “For instance, this year we’re going to do a dual celebration between two of the 2018 winning companies—Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha and Bitsbox. It’s going to be a huge party with hundreds of people, but in some cases, these celebrations are a small meeting where we go in and just thank the staff and the people who really brought them to where they are.”
Boulder is already compiling its list for 2019 CCTW nominees. In fact, Waldau said she’s been working on that list practically all year. Nominations for the CCTW Class of 2019 open October 15, 2018.
“We start our lists and outreach early,” said Waldau. “The key is to keep promoting the companies we believe in; the ones who embody everything that makes our economy thrive.”