Even Colorado’s failing companies help create jobs in the long-term

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Photo: Young business employees StockDenver Startup Week is underway, an annual celebration of entrepreneurship in the area, and a study released today finds Colorado continues to be a national leader when it comes to start-up businesses. That's partly because the state is home to a large number of companies that fail, according to the study’s author, CSU economist Stephan Weiler.

The Innovation Report also found one major reason to question whether Colorado's position as an innovation hub will last long-term. There’s a coming talent shortage, he says, which could affect not just whether there are enough skilled workers for entrepreneurs to hire, but also whether the state will continue to be such a fertile breeding ground for smart new companies.

Right now Colorado has a significant advantage over other states when it comes to the share of the population with at least a bachelor's degree. But as the older generation retires, "the education advantage has become progressively smaller," the report states.

"[Colorado] imported a lot of the talent... There was a particular boom in the 1990s."

Now, he says, many talented people are being lost to retirement: "and so we need to replace them. But the problem is, we aren't doing a great job of educating our own, so the cohorts that have to replace these folks aren't nearly as talented as the people that they're replacing."

So, he adds, "Colorado may look a lot more average than the position we're used to."