OEDIT Announces New Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems

Headshot of Laura Rodriguez with press release title and the words "Cultivating business success by supporting startups and driving economic growth" and the OEDIT logo in bottom left corner


DENVER – Today, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced that Laura Rodriguez will be named Director of Innovation Ecosystems, the first role of its kind for OEDIT. In addition to her responsibilities as Chief Strategy Officer, Rodriguez will coordinate efforts to cultivate sustainable and inclusive ecosystems and work to enhance Colorado's reputation as a hub for successful startups and thriving businesses.

“Laura’s extensive experience fostering business innovation, understanding of economic trends, and proven track record of success at OEDIT make her a perfect fit for this role. Laura’s leadership will be critical to ensuring Colorado remains a leading destination for innovation and entrepreneurship, and accelerates our national and global competitiveness,” said Eve Lieberman, Executive Director of OEDIT.

This new role represents OEDIT’s increasing commitment to catalyzing inclusive and innovative place-based entrepreneurial ecosystems and supporting startup growth in Colorado. Rodriguez will lead office-wide projects to promote innovation and entrepreneurship and support the continued success of statewide and regional technology hubs.

Over the last year, OEDIT has played a key role in supporting Colorado consortiums that have successfully secured federal recognition and funding to advance strategic industries, including the Elevate Quantum Tech Hub and the Colorado-Wyoming Climate Resilience Engine. The Colorado Economic Development Commission also designated funding to support the first ever development of Colorado Tech Hubs. In her new role, Rodriguez will support OEDIT’s continued efforts to advance the state’s leadership in these key technology areas while strengthening the partnerships and ecosystems crucial to their success.
Working across OEDIT divisions, Rodriguez will focus on several key areas in her role as Director of Innovation Systems:

  • Building Ecosystems: Strengthen the interconnectedness of the innovation ecosystem by fostering collaboration among startups, universities, investors and industry leaders. 
  • Supporting Startups: Introduce and coordinate programs and resources to help empower inclusive entrepreneurship, including access to capital, mentorship, and strategic partnerships.
  • Reputation and Branding: Lead efforts to raise awareness of Colorado's startup and innovation ecosystem and highlight strengths and promote industry-focused messaging.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Support and enhance ongoing substantial efforts within existing programs and divisions to champion diversity and inclusion initiatives within the startup ecosystem.
  • Community Engagement: Engage with startup communities across Colorado to understand their needs, provide support, and foster a culture of collaboration and innovation.
  • Strategic Coordination: Collaborate with various divisions and leaders within OEDIT to align startup support programs and initiatives with overarching economic development goals.
  • Program and Event Development: Work across OEDIT teams for the implementation of new programs and events designed to support startup growth, including accelerator programs, and investment funds.

Rodriguez will draw on a background in economic development within the State and at OEDIT. In her role as Chief Strategy Officer at OEDIT, she leads strategic planning and program development to enhance internal and external engagement. This important work includes forging partnerships, nurturing business and community connections, and driving initiatives to support Colorado's economic growth.

She has also served as Vice President of Economic Competitiveness and Corporate Attraction at the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, where she spearheaded efforts to boost the region's economic competitiveness and attract businesses and talent.

“It’s a privilege to support Colorado’s economic growth. I look forward to collaborating with OEDIT and the startup community to implement projects that will raise awareness of our proven programs and increase investment to Colorado’s businesses,” said Laura Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was born and raised in Denver. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an M.A. in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

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