by Jon Graham , ambassador and reporter for Boulder Channel 1

On Wednesday night the Boulder Chamber hosted its annual ESPRiT awards dinner in the Glenn Miller Ballroom at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The event was attended by over 300 people.
Zayo Group’s chairman and CEO, Dan Caruso, accepted the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year award with a pre-recorded video speech. He thanked community leaders and said Boulder was an ideal environment to start and grow a business.
CU economist Rich Wobbekind provided graphs of statistics that showed Boulder has a highly educated population and a variety of successful industries.
The Boulder Economic Council’s director, Clif Harald, introduced the Boulder Innovation Venture. This is a study of the city’s role as a leader in innovation and research. Its purpose is to raise awareness and attract more talent to Boulder.

photo by Boulder Channel 1

Three finalists of the Esprit Venture Challenge, presented their ideas to the audience. They were questioned by three judges: Terrie Fiez, vice chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Amy McGarrity, chief investment officer for Colorado PERA; and Jose Vieitez, co-founder of the Boomtown accelerator in Boulder. Members of the audience then used an online voting app to select the winner..

Khala Cloths won $10,000 for the development and marketing of a hemp-cotton fabric treated with beeswax, tree resin, and coconut oil that is a biodegradeable alternative to plastic wrap for storing food.

Dance To Be Free won $2,500. This nonprofit group uses the healing power of music and dance to treat victims of post-traumatic stress disorder in women’s prisons worldwide.

Give and Go Film won $1,000. This company is marketing an automated video editing system that could be widely used by sports coaches. Mac Bolak, CEO, started this venture when he was the manager of the University of Colorado men’s basketball team. This editing procedure is about seventy-two times faster than the manual video editing procedure currently in use.

ESPIRIT is a premiere event held Boulder Chamber each year . It awards local startups as well as long standing Boulder businesses. It was a highly produced event with a sold out Dinner crowd.  Boulder Channel 1 business reporters follows Boulder Chamber and many of it’s events.  They have a diverse membership and is inviting to all Boulder businesses showing s true reflection of our city.