Testimonials & Collaborations
First Flatiron Consulting’s Principal, Clif Harald, was Executive Director of the Boulder Economic Council (BEC), the economic vitality arm of the Boulder Chamber, for most of the past decade. Clif collaborated with many business and community leaders on a number of notable economic vitality projects. Select collaborations are featured below.
Google | University of Colorado Boulder | Boulder Innovation Venture 2.0 | Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade | Zingfit | Boulder Chamber | Downtown Boulder Partnership | EforAll | Meati Foods
The BEC was instrumental in the growth of Google’s local operations. Clif and the BEC take a long-term view of economic vitality, helping small and large businesses thrive in Boulder. Google Boulder benefited greatly from their insights. This was just as true when we had 30 people as it is today.
Scott Green, former Engineering Site Director, Google Boulder
Google’s presence in Boulder is the culmination of a startup success story. In 2006, Google acquired Boulder startup SketchUp. In 2011, Google began considering expansion options for a new 1,500-employee campus in the Boulder/Denver region. After choosing a site in central Boulder and with the city Planning Board's 2014 approval, Google completed the last building of its 300,000 square foot campus in early 2020. At the BEC, Clif collaborated closely with Google site leaders, the City of Boulder, and others to retain the company and support its expansion through site selection, development review, construction, and occupancy.
University of Colorado Boulder
Under Clif’s leadership, the BEC consistently demonstrated its commitment to collaborating with CU Boulder and to our longstanding partnership. He is widely respected within the campus administration and across our colleges. Clif is not only a trusted professional partner, he has become – and will continue to be – a good friend.
Frances Draper, Senior Strategic Advisor and former Vice Chancellor, CU Boulder, and former Executive Director, BEC
CU Boulder is in many ways the single most influential driver in Boulder’s economy. CU is also one of the most essential partners of the BEC. Clif and his team collaborated routinely with the colleges of Business, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Law. The Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business partnered with the BEC on influential socioeconomic research and reports. The campus offices of Strategic Relations, Silicon Flatirons, and Research & Innovation worked with Clif and the BEC on community events like the annual Boulder Economic Summit, outreach to businesses, innovation initiatives, and entrepreneurship programs.
Boulder Innovation Venture 2.0
CU’s Business Research Division has enjoyed a highly productive partnership with Clif and the BEC team for nearly a decade. Collaborating on the Boulder Innovation Venture project is definitely a highlight among the many projects we’ve worked on together. The innovative methodology we developed to measure the vitality of a community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is easily replicable, which is especially meaningful in the era of COVID-19.
Rich Wobbekind, Senior Economist and Faculty Director, and Brian Lewandowski, Executive Director, University of Colorado Boulder Business Research Division
Early in 2020, the BEC published its groundbreaking Boulder Innovation Venture 2.0 report in collaboration with CU Boulder. Conceived and produced by Clif and the BEC team, the report compares Boulder’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to other major startup communities throughout the U.S. Using a methodology co-developed by the BEC and CU Boulder’s Business Research Division, the publication presents an easy-to-read comparison of the performance of 14 different communities. The report was published just before COVID-19 struck U.S. cities, but it became obvious that as a benchmarking tool, the methodology provides insights into mitigating the impacts of the pandemic and expediting economic recovery.
Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT)
As head of the BEC, Clif’s been a strong partner of OEDIT, advocating for our programs with Boulder companies and state legislators over many years. He’s collaborated with us to support dozens of Boulder businesses with grants, training programs, technical assistance, and public recognition. Our team has always valued Clif and the BEC as one of our most productive partners.
Michelle Hadwiger, Deputy Director and Director of Global Business Development, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
CO OEDIT’s incentives and business development programs have been particularly impactful to Boulder companies over the past decade. Clif and the BEC worked closely with OEDIT to qualify eligible businesses for state grants and other support. OEDIT and the Economic Development Commission awarded nearly $35 million in job growth incentive and workforce training grants to Boulder companies such as AGC Biologics, Corden Pharma, Emerson, Spectra Logic, and Zingfit. Advanced Industries Accelerator grants were awarded to more than thirty-five Boulder businesses, and the Colorado Companies to Watch program started by OEDIT has recognized over ninety early stage Boulder companies.
Clif was a major factor in our decision to relocate Zingfit from New York to Boulder. He drove the point that Boulder is a place where entrepreneurs support each other’s success, and then set up some great meetings for us with smart, down-to-earth, company founders. Clif also helped us win a substantial incentive from the State of Colorado. That did it for us! We are immensely thankful.
John Bogosian, Founding Partner and CEO, Zingfit
Zingfit is a startup that launched a software platform enabling branded booking experiences for boutique fitness studios in over 30 countries. A company co-founder contacted Clif in 2015 about relocating the business from New York to Boulder. By mid-2016, Zingfit had received a $2.8 million incentive from the State of Colorado and was leasing space in Boulder. Clif assisted Zingfit’s move by making introductions to Boulder entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and to commercial and residential real estate brokers, and by facilitating the company’s applications for state and local incentives. Zingfit founders negotiated an exit in late 2019 when the business was sold to Advent International.
Clif’s leadership in the early days of the Boulder Chamber’s response to COVID-19 was essential. He had planned to transition out of his BEC role before the virus struck, but as its impact on businesses accelerated, he stayed on months longer to help activate our response to the crisis. We certainly applaud Clif’s leadership throughout his BEC tenure, but we’re particularly grateful for his extra efforts to help the Boulder Chamber launch our collaborative response to the pandemic.
John Tayer, President and CEO, Boulder Chamber
The BEC was founded by Clif and former Boulder Chamber CEO Tom Clark in 1997 to champion economic vitality in the City of Boulder, metro Denver, and beyond. Today, the Boulder Chamber and BEC face the urgent necessity to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on local businesses, community organizations, and their employees and customers. The Boulder Chamber’s leadership, including Clif and the BEC team, helped launch an immediate mitigation response, and initiated the effort to formulate a longer-term economic recovery plan. The pandemic demands community-wide collaboration, and the BEC and Boulder Chamber are playing critical roles in stakeholder coordination.
Downtown Boulder Partnership
Clif started with the BEC only a couple years after I came to the Downtown Boulder Partnership. Boulder was just coming out of the Great Recession then, and for the next decade we collaborated successfully on the revitalization of Boulder’s economy. Clif and the BEC were key partners in the work accomplished at the Downtown Boulder Partnership.
Sean Maher, former CEO, Downtown Boulder Partnership, and former Executive Director, BEC, now CEO of RRC Associates
The Downtown Boulder Partnership (DBP) promotes the economic vitality of downtown Boulder while preserving the area as the historical and cultural heart of Boulder. The DBP and the BEC share overlapping program priorities and collaborate on many initiatives. Clif and the BEC worked with DBP’s leadership to advocate for business interests on city planning and development policies, coordinate on downtown business outreach and retention meetings, and co-host delegations visiting from around the world, among other programs. Most recently, a top priority for both organizations has been sustaining the vitality of Boulder’s retail sector in the face of growing online and regional competition.
EforAll (Entrepreneurship for All)
As EforAll was opening its Longmont office, one of the first meetings we scheduled was with Clif and John Tayer of the BEC and Boulder Chamber. They helped us expand our network in Boulder, including a valuable introduction to Google Boulder made by Clif. He went on to mentor Moray Inca Products, one of our top accelerator graduates, and is still involved with our program.
Harris Rollinger, Executive Director, EforAll Longmont
EforAll’s mission is to accelerate economic and social impact in communities through inclusive entrepreneurship. When the organization launched its Longmont offices in 2019, Clif and the BEC immediately became involved as a partner. Clif helped introduce EforAll’s team to Boulder business and community leaders, leading to new supporters of the accelerator program. He volunteered as a mentor for one of EforAll’s first Longmont accelerator classes, and was partnered with Moray Inca Products, with whom he still meets regularly to advise the father and son co-owners on product development, marketing, and consumer outreach.
When Meati Foods relocated our company to Boulder, Clif and his team made us feel immediately at home and were instrumental in introducing us to real estate leads, potential investors and strategic partners in the food space.
Tyler Huggins, Co-Founder and CEO, Meati Foods
Meati Foods makes sustainable fungi-based meats from natural ingredients that have the nutrition profile of animal meats, plus all the nutrients and fiber of vegetables. After raising $4.8 million in seed funding in 2019, Meati recently closed an additional $28.2 million in Series A funding. The company successfully launched Meati steaks at a downtown Boulder restaurant and is planning a direct to consumer offering later this year, followed by a retail launch in 2021. Clif and the BEC helped Meati Foods relocate to Boulder, supported the company’s marketing and fundraising strategies, and assisted with its search for real estate as the business grew.