While most 20-somethings are only trying to finish their college degrees, Samuel Elliott is already taking on multiple projects as a young entrepreneur in Colorado Springs.
Elliott started off as a college athlete, but gave it up within a year of moving to UCCS from Des Moines, Iowa. Searching for something else to do, he founded the Entrepreneurship Club as a student at UCCS — and started turning heads in the local startup community.
“Nick Lee, now of Lee Spirits Co., reached out to me because of my involvement in starting the entrepreneurship club on campus,” said Elliott. “He was interested in the mission of the club, and said he was involved with the nonprofit Peak Startup.”
After the conversation, Elliott became a member of the board of directors for Peak Startup — and continues to make a difference in the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Back then, [in 2014] I was terrified of sitting on the board of a company, but it was exactly what I needed to start making positive impacts within the entrepreneurship community,” he said. “That was when I turned my passions toward helping others.”
As part of the Peak Startup board, Elliott helps organize and emcee events like Pitch Night and Startup Weekend.
And his role on the board opened the way to other city startup and entrepreneurial projects. In 2016, Elliott was part of the business development team for Springs Magazine, where he helped build its website and assisted with social media, sales and articles.
“At that job, I fell madly in love with our city and the opportunities for growth,” Elliott said.’ “Building relationships with the co-organizers, audience members and entrepreneurs made my year with Springs Magazine an amazing one.”
He’s also working with the Colorado Coalition for Social Impact, a collaborative social enterprise effort by the Better Business Bureau and Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center. He is involved with the UCCS Gallery of Contemporary Arts, the Daniels Fund and, his personal favorite, 1 Million Cups — a community-focused event that brings in two entrepreneurs weekly to share their stories.
As a young entrepreneur and student body president at UCCS, Elliott has dedicated his time to connecting college students and young professionals to the local business community, said Brad Brackel, vice president of sales at Maxletics, a local tech startup that provides a fundraising app for nonprofit organizations.
“For the startup community in Colorado Springs, Sam has done a lot,” he said. “He’s been both very active in it and several startups, but he has also brought in a lot of younger people to grow the ecosystem.”
Elliott believes in the power of inspiring others..
“I have had over a dozen people come up to me and say I inspired them to do something,” he said. “It is the power of groups of people that will continue to build our incredible city and make the world a better place.”