How to Become an Entrepreneur in Colorado

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What is Entrepreneurship?


Are you considering enrollment in an entrepreneurship degree program in Colorado? If you have a strong work ethic and are interested in starting your own business, this may be a good fit for you. The most successful entrepreneurs also tend to be creative and highly engaged in learning new things.

An entrepreneur is someone who creates a new business. They may be incorporated or unincorporated, and either hire employees or operate alone. Business owners can also work in a variety of industries, including retail goods, auto repair, and home construction.

While entrepreneurs do not always maintain an active role in the businesses they create, many choose to take on numerous roles. Responsibilities will vary depending on the industry, but most involved owners oversee operations, direct production, assist with personnel management, develop company-wide policies, and review financial activities.

The top benefits of being an entrepreneur are independence and autonomy in creating a company. These professionals get to choose the type of work they perform, who they provide products and/or services to, where their businesses are located, and even how much money they earn. Business owners also tend to enjoy significant personal enrichment. Those who are self-employed often do a lot of independent and guided learning, which leads to them gaining knowledge in numerous areas.


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Entrepreneurship Education in Colorado


The field is expansive, with opportunities available in almost every industry. Pay for entrepreneurs largely depends on the type of business created, but earning potential can be quite high. According to PayScale, hourly rates for self-employed professionals range from $11.40 to $81.74. The average pay for those who are self-employed is $21.65.

Outlook for entrepreneurs is relatively promising, depending on the industry in which they work. Starting a business is a complex process and there are several risks associated with the endeavor. As a result, many new companies fail within only a few years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks establishment survival and some of the most successful sectors include health care and social assistance. Construction businesses, however, have one of the lowest rates of survival.

With a healthy balance of farmland and urbanization, Colorado is an ideal location to start many different types of businesses. Some of the most prominent industries in the state include real estate, education, manufacturing, business, finance, and insurance. Each brings in over $21 billion in revenue every year and could prove fruitful for aspiring entrepreneurs. Professional and business services ranked number two, with $54.6 billion in revenue.

To support demand for qualified business professionals and entrepreneurs, many colleges and universities in Colorado offer relevant academic programs for students. If you aspire to open your own business in the state, consider enrolling at a local institution. This ensures you will possess the training, skills, and knowledge necessary to build a successful company in the area.

Earning a degree in entrepreneurship can prepare you for opening your own business, as well as for a variety of jobs in Colorado. While a degree is not strictly necessary to become an entrepreneur, deciding to earn one ensures you have the knowledge, training, and skills needed to reach your ultimate business goals. Starting a company is a complex and risky process, and receiving formal training is often extremely beneficial.

It’s worth noting that entrepreneurship is not always offered as a major. Instead, some colleges and universities offer it as a concentration within broader business degrees. Programs like this generally focus on a particular area such as e-commerce, funding, or product feasibility.

As you consider the programs available in Colorado, you may find offerings at the associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. Always ensure the degree type you select corresponds with the educational needs associated with your business aspirations.

Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship (AS)

Associate degrees in entrepreneurship are available for people interested in gaining the necessary skills to open, manage, and advance a business. This degree may also be adequate to qualify graduates for work as retail managers, office managers, general sales managers, business analysts, and business consultants.

Most associate programs in entrepreneurship consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Advanced placement (AP) classes taken during high school may also count towards some general education requirements, which can decrease this timeframe. Additionally, some colleges and universities offer accelerated programs that can be finished in as little as a year.

Most associate degree programs in entrepreneurship place a strong focus on math, English, and economics. Common coursework also includes accounting, marketing, business law, and business ethics. Additionally, students are likely to learn how to utilize various spreadsheet, presentation, and word processing software.

An associate degree in entrepreneurship can also be extremely beneficial to those who want to earn a bachelor’s degree later on. Graduates receive an introduction to the field and can transfer all applicable credits to four-year colleges and universities afterward.

Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship (BS)

Prospective students can also choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship. These programs are designed to help you further develop your skills in leadership, organization, and problem-solving. Graduates often possess professional independence and a considerable work ethic.

Most bachelor’s degree programs consist of 120 credit hours of coursework, which generally takes full-time students four years to complete. Students often learn about various subjects relevant to business, as well as the major skills necessary to lead a successful career.

While course titles will vary, students can expect to take classes like:

  • The Entrepreneurial Mindset
  • Low-Risk Startups
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial Consulting

A bachelor’s degree is also required to enroll in more advanced degrees. Most colleges and universities require graduate candidates have a four-year degree before they can be admitted.

Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (MS or MC)

Master’s degrees in entrepreneurship are ideal for individuals who want to advance their businesses further. Graduates will be better prepared to manage their own businesses and are likely to qualify for advanced job placement in the field. Statistically, master’s degree-holders also tend to earn higher salaries.

Most master’s degree programs in entrepreneurship consist of about 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Programs generally teach students how to contribute to the overall growth and development of existing business ventures. Every institution is different, so curriculum and course titles will vary.

Some common classes include:

  • Financial Management
  • Strategic Marking Management
  • Launching Startup Ventures

MBA Degree in Entrepreneurship

Prospective entrepreneurs may also benefit from earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Many MBA degrees programs offer concentrations in startups and business development, which are ideal for individuals opening or expanding upon companies. MBA graduates often have a wide variety of employment opportunities, stand out during interviews, make more money, and qualify for senior-level and management positions.

Most MBA programs consist of 60 credit hours of coursework and take full-time students approximately two years to complete. Enrolled students can expect to focus on developing and honing strategy, marketing, global business, and supply chain management skills. In addition to entrepreneurship, concentrations in data visualization, enterprise systems, security controls, and business analytics are often available.

PhD Degree in Entrepreneurship (PhD)

Few entrepreneurs require education beyond the master’s level. Those interested in opening their own businesses are unlikely to need a doctorate or PhD in entrepreneurship. Generally, programs at this level are designed for individuals who plan to conduct cutting-edge research in the field and/or become professors at research universities. Degree graduates may also choose to pursue positions as directors of operations and chief operating officers.

Doctorate and PhD programs generally consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours and take full-time students four to seven years to complete. Those enrolled should expect coursework to focus most on research and they will be expected to complete and present a dissertation before graduating. Common coursework includes research methods, econometrics, and multivariate analysis.

While rarely necessary for small business owners, it’s worth noting that graduates from doctorate or PhD programs are often qualified to apply for some of the highest-level positions available in business research, management, and policy.

Become an Entrepreneur in Colorado


The first step in becoming an entrepreneur in Colorado is determining what your personal business goals are. Entrepreneurship is extremely broad, with opportunities in almost every field. As such, it is important to identify an area that you are competent in and/or passionate about. For some, may be opening a small business, while others would prefer to find employment. Knowing your preferences will help you decide which knowledge, skills and training will be necessary to succeed.

As previously mentioned, not every situation calls for earning a degree in entrepreneurship, although having one can be highly beneficial. Your ultimate career goals will usually dictate your academic needs, making it clear what educational requirements should be completed.

In addition to obtaining a degree in entrepreneurship, you can choose to pursue a number of certifications to help establish and/or advance your company, as well as enhance your professional qualifications. While no specific credential is required to become an entrepreneur, opting to earn one or more certifications can help you stand out among the competition.

Certifications are generally industry-based, which means you will need to research which credentials are best suited for your career goals. It is also important to ensure the certification you select is relevant to your business model or the type of work you expect to perform.

Some of the most prominent general business options include:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
  • Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
  • Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
  • Certified Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD)
  • Certified Professional Logistician (CPL)
  • Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)

If you do plan to open your own business in Colorado, there are several additional steps you should be aware of. Beyond choosing a business idea, writing a business plan, and selecting a business entity, you will also need to register your business name and take steps to legally protect it with a trademark.

Other steps include:

  • Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Opening a Business Bank Account
  • Applying for Business Licenses and Permits
  • Finding Financing
  • Hiring Employees
  • Obtaining Business Insurance
  • Establishing an Accounting System

While Colorado does not require business owners to have a general state business license, many cities have licensing regulations that must be followed. Additionally, businesses that sell products and certain services must register for a sales tax permit with the Colorado Department of Revenue. Further, shops with physical locations are responsible for obtaining all necessary zoning permits from the city or county prior to opening.

For additional support, the Colorado Secretary of State provides a Checklist for New Businesses. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies also oversees many of the licensing, rules, boards, and consumer protection programs in the state. New business owners should also refer to the Colorado Business Resource Book, which is offered and maintained by the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC).

Careers for Entrepreneurship Graduates


There are a wide variety of positions available to entrepreneurship graduates. Whether you are interested in starting your own business or finding professional employment, there are numerous opportunities to be had in Colorado.

Salaries and responsibilities will vary, but some of the most common career options include:

  • Business Owner
  • Retail Manager
  • Office Manager
  • General Sales Manager
  • Public Relations Manager
  • Appraiser
  • Web Developer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Systems Analyst
  • Management Analyst
  • Investment and Acquisition Specialist
  • Brand Manager
  • Business Consultant
  • Marketing / Research Analyst
  • Product / Product Development Manager
  • Business Owner:
    Small business owners are responsible for establishing, maintaining, and growing their own businesses. They may be actively involved by performing a variety of duties themselves or opt to take a more observational role by delegating tasks to employees. The most engaged professionals generally oversee company operations, direct production, supervise personnel management, develop policies, and direct financial activities. According to PayScale, database administrators make an average base salary of $73,300 per year.
  • Web Developer:
    Web developers are responsible for building websites for their employers, writing code to create web pages and access databases as directed. They often write, modify, and debut software to enhance productivity, marketability, and/or efficiency. These professionals also test new software for companies and organizations to ensure it is suitable for installation. According to PayScale, web developers make an average base salary of $60,100 per year.
  • Marketing Manager:
    Marketing managers are responsible assisting with or supervising the creation of advertising campaigns for companies and organizations. They may oversee one or more products, product lines, brands, or companies. These professionals also coordinate with product managers to help monitor program performance, as well as assist in market research studies that may lead to new program implementation recommendations. According to PayScale, marketing managers make an average base salary of $66,300 per year.
  • Retail Manager:
    Retail managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a retail store they have been assigned. They generally handle all employee onboarding processes, as well as manage inventories and deal with customer service issues. These professionals also track various retail goals established by corporate and assist in annual budget planning. According to PayScale, retail managers make an average base salary of $48,000 per year.
  • Office Manager:
    Office managers are responsible for overseeing the activities, projects, and employees they are assigned. They utilize good communication, problem-solving, and managerial skills to ensure operations run smoothly and provide updates to high-level executives when necessary. These professionals also implement new policies and procedures as directed. According to PayScale, office managers make an average hourly rate of $18.28, which is an estimated base salary of $49,300 per year.
  • General Sales Manager:
    General sales managers are responsible for overseeing sales departments at the companies they work for. They can take on numerous tasks, but some of the most common include hiring and training employees, assisting sales teams, ensuring targets are met, compiling revenue data, and presenting relevant information to upper management. These professionals may also take on general marketing duties. According to PayScale, general sales managers make an average base salary of $65,700 per year.
  • Business Analyst:
    Business analysts are responsible for ensuring that various departments within the company they work for are functioning efficiently. They often analyze relevant information, such as user requests, to develop strategies to meet employee needs. These professionals also determine, implement, and evaluate business metrics to ensure necessities are accounted for. According to PayScale, business analysts make an average base salary of $61,800 per year.
  • Business Consultant:
    Business consultants are responsible for assisting clients in the creation of profitable business models. They often work for companies, assessing current procedures and offering recommendations with the intent of improving customer outreach and/or identifying product vendors. These professionals may also help identify and execute changes to company infrastructures. According to PayScale, business consultants make an average base salary of $75,100 per year.

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