Business Incubator

A program for emerging businesses in rural Colorado

Building a business, especially in rural Colorado, can be difficult. Accessing funding and capital in rural communities is another challenge. The ICELab @ Western is partnering with Startup Colorado for its Founder Coopetition Program. This Colorado business incubator is designed to fuel the growth of early-stage businesses in rural Colorado. The program will provide startups with the resources they need to create a successful funding strategy and access to a network of capital providers. Everyone in your cohort will be from rural Colorado and understand the unique challenges of building a business in a small community. This supportive community will help you learn and grow during the incubator. Participants will also have the opportunity to pitch their funding needs to over 50 Startup Colorado partners. 

What is the Coopetition?

Cooperation and Competition

The coopetition is a chance for entrepreneurs to collaborate and learn from each other. They will keep each other accountable and support each other through the process of building a business. They will also receive expert funding advice for their businesses, learn how to access funding options and get direct connections with capital providers in Colorado. The program also includes a funding pitch where participants have the opportunity to receive non-dilutive funding. Gunnison Valley startups in the program will receive a free ICELab membership for the duration of the program. Enjoy an inspiring place to work and have access to the business resources that the ICELab offers. 

How do I apply?

Applications for the Founder Coopetition are now open. There are three upcoming cohorts. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

September 7-27, 2023
October 26-November 18, 2023
April 25-May, 16 2024

Funding Pitch

How much funding can participants receive?

Participants will have the opportunity to pitch to over 50 Startup Colorado partners for a $5,000 micro-grant. This money will help further early-stage development. The top three startups from each cohort will receive funding. In addition to funding, each startup will receive valuable feedback from peers and expert reviewers.

The Pre-Incubator and Incubator Program

The history of the ICELab Incubator

In years past, the ICELab ran an Incubator for local exporter companies. You can watch a video about the program and take a look at past companies below. The Pre-Incubator was a two-week prerequisite to the Incubator. At the end of the Pre-Incubator, companies pitched to a panel of judges. Incubator participants were chosen from this pitch competition. Companies that made it into the Incubator developed successful business habits, created a business model and were given tools to maximize their ideas. Running this program has given the ICELab a solid foundation for their partnership with Startup Colorado. The partnership allows entrepreneurs to access a wider network of business resources and startup founders. It will also allow them the chance to pitch for funding. Gunnison Valley participants in the Startup Colorado Coopetition will have access to the ICELab and its array of business resources. These resources include a free ICELab membership and the ability to meet with ICELab staff and mentors for advice, support, and encouragement.

The ICELab at Western

The ICELab at Western is a business resource center and coworking space focused on economic development. Are you in Gunnison Crested Butte to bike or ski but still need to work remotely? Check out the ICELab for office space and an internet connection. It provides business consulting, resources and office space for local businesses and remote workers. The ICELab’s mission is to help the small businesses in Gunnison and Crested Butte grow, as well as help new businesses get started. 

Startup Colorado

What is Startup Colorado?

Startup Colorado is a network for entrepreneurs in rural Colorado. Startup Colorado supports these entrepreneurs through a free online network, direct funding, events and programming, and collaboration with local business resources. 


If your business is outdoor-industry-oriented and past the early stages, check out the Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator (MOA). Hosted in partnership with the ICELab and the outdoor retail company Moosejaw, the Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator is a competitive business accelerator program aimed at boosting startup companies and increasing diversity in the outdoor industry.

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