It will be quite some time before we can put into actual words what unfolded at our 2nd Annual Ascent Startup Summit. To say we are inspired and impressed with this entrepreneurial movement happening in Chaffee County would be the understatement of the year. Our 2023 Ascent Startup Summit took place last Thursday, April 20th at the stunning Surf Hotel in Buena Vista, Colorado and celebrated entrepreneurs, dreamers, and doers in our mountain community. We connected and listened to inspiring stories from the masterminds behind Weston Backcountry, Topo Designs, and Icelantic Skis. They each shared the highs and lows of their entrepreneurial journeys, priceless insight, and invaluable advice.

A true highlight was watching live as six companies from our Ascent program were awarded $135,000 in non-dilutive grant funding from our Ark_Angel investor network and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). We’d like to extend another congratulations to the hard-working, innovative recipients Elements Compost, Terra Firma Forestry, Hey Sweetie, Oso Adventure Meals, Buena Goods, and Little Red Hen.  Stay tuned because we’ll be following along and sharing as these companies do incredibly big things in our communities! 

We closed the night out with Wesley & Rose tacos, artisan cocktails, and live music featuring the Ascent House Band, with members Coleman Smith, Bonnie Culpepper, and Charlie Mertens.

This recap would be incomplete without a huge shoutout to our generous sponsors Collegiate Peaks BankAristata Communications, and The Kenneth King Foundation who not only made this event possible, but make it so much more special for our attendees. Thank you to our delicious beverage sponsors Deer Hammer Distillery, Woods High Mountain Distillery, Elevation Beer Co, and Eddyline Brewery, and the entire crew at Wesley & Rose and the Surf Hotel who never cease to amaze us with their ability to roll out the red carpet for every single guest!

We hope you enjoy perusing through some of these highlights below captured by the one and only Amanda Podesta Photography.














Photography Credit: Amanda Podesta Photography