Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the EPIIC Venture Attractor 


General Questions

What is a Venture Attractor?

Simply defined, a Venture Attractor is an ecosystem.  A Venture Attractor is a proprietary term, trademarked by the EPIIC Venture Attractor™, for a sector-specific startup ecosystemA Venture Attractor first identifies the existing sectors in a geographic area. Then, it attracts and nurtures early-stage startups within these sectors. Finally, a Venture Attractor has long-term goals of enhancing the entrepreneurial vibrancy of a region and driving economic development. 

What sectors does the Venture Attractor support?

The EPIIC Venture Attractor is focused on the Colorado Springs region. The initiative solely supports the sectors of sports and outdoors, health innovation, and human performance. When applied in other regions, the Venture Attractor concept would likely develop different sectors that are naturally emerging. 

Is the Venture Attractor a startup accelerator?

No, the Venture Attractor is not a traditional accelerator. The Venture Attractor is an ecosystem focused on attracting and supporting startups in selected sectors. We do not invest nor do we take equity in companies we support.  

Is the Venture Attractor a business incubator?

No, the Venture Attractor is not a traditional business incubator. The Venture Attractor is a sector-specific ecosystem focused on attracting startups to the Colorado Springs region, rather than being solely focused on co-locating startups from various industries.     

Does the Venture Attractor invest in startups?

No, the Venture Attractor does not invest in startups. The initiative also does not take an equity stake in companies. We provide support and connections to startups to ready them for future investors. 

Does the Venture Attractor take equity in companies?

No, the Venture Attractor does not take an equity stake in companies. The initiative also does not fund startups. The Venture Attractor provides support and connections to scaling startups to ready them for future investors.  

How does the Venture Attractor view economic development?

We believe in a bottom-up approach to economic development. The Venture Attractor focuses on efforts to attract, nurture, and retain early-stage startups instead of traditional efforts to attract larger corporations. We are a driver of regional economic development in Colorado Springs, focusing on specific sectors that are natural to the region.   

What is a cluster?

Simply defined, an industry cluster is an aggregation of companies in complementary sectors within a geographical area. A widely known example of a U.S.-based industry cluster is Silicon Valley. 

Is the Venture Attractor a standalone nonprofit?

No, the Venture Attractor is a research initiative of the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization (EPIIC) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).   

How is the Venture Attractor funded?

The Venture Attractor is largely funded through the generous support of donors – individuals, corporations, and foundations. We are also supported through in-kind donations.  

Is a donation to support the Venture Attractor tax-deductible?

The Venture Attractor is a university-based initiative based at UCCS.  As such, all donations to support our efforts are gifts to the CU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  All gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law, but circumstances vary depending on each donor’s individual financial situation. You should consult with your tax attorney/advisor concerning the deductibility of your gift.   

How do I support the Venture Attractor?

The Venture Attractor is a university-based initiative based at UCCS. As such, all donations to support our efforts are gifts to the CU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Gifts can be made via phone, mail, check, eCheck, bank account, or credit card. Gifts can be reoccurring or a one-time donation.  Donations can be designated for a particular purpose, can serve as a matching gift, and can also be designated in honor or memory of someone.   

For donations, contact Elissa Unger, Director of Development at UCCS: [email protected]

What does UCCS stand for?

UCCS stands for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. UCCS is one of four campuses in the University of Colorado (CU) system and is located in Colorado Springs. The Venture Attractor is an initiative at UCCS. 
For more about UCCS:  
For more about CU: 

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