Accelerator Programs Are Vital To Rural Communities

First Southwest Bank • April 2, 2019

When you think of the word “startup”, what comes to mind?
Excitement. Bravery. Potential. Success.

Or are you thinking more along the lines of…
Scary. Lonely. Daunting. Side-hustle. Frustrating. Isolating.

As exciting as launching a “startup” can be, we also know that getting the community-backing, financial support, and educational knowledge you need can be a little overwhelming. Creating the monumental success that every start-up entrepreneur dreams-of takes an enormous amount of hard work and connections — connections that many new-business owners just don’t have the resources, time or know-how to access. That’s where accelerators come in and Durango has an incredible one that First Southwest Bank is proud to support — SCAPE, the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs.

Accelerators help problem solve, educate, create connections, provide access to investment capital, give real-life experience, develop skills, manage risk, plan for the future, give motivation and provide lasting support and connection even long after the program is over. The end-goal for an accelerator  is to drive economic growth and foster a healthy entrepreneurial culture - both goals are essential to a healthy rural economy.

SCAPE is a great example of an accelerator dedicated to helping companies get started and grow to the next level. They provide mentoring and access to investment capital through an intensive six month program. The program includes business model creation, customer and product development, marketing and website consulting, financing plans, financial projections, presenting to lenders and investors, and more.

This year we are proud to be the title sponsor for SCAPE’s accelerator class — providing funding, mentorship and expertise to their cohorts and community members alike.

Local entrepreneurs that have contributed thriving businesses to our community since their SCAPE education include Munirevs,, E.P.I.C. Magazine, Impact and many more. The 2019 participants were just announced and include:

  • Osiris Labs, which looks to align a business’ employees around its corporate values via detailed storytelling in virtual-reality-enabled digital platforms.

  • Pom, which is putting regional heirloom apple orchards back to work through distribution of craft hard ciders.

  • Moto Burly, which is manufacturing high-end, semi-custom off-road trailers for outdoor adventure to individuals and dealers.

  • Expedition Outside, which is developing an online and mobile marketplace enabling outdoor recreational enthusiasts access to private lands to pursue their outdoor activities.

  • The Eli Monster, which provides downloadable PDF sewing patterns for women and children with easy-to-follow instructions.

  • Tsunami Industries, which holds a patented device that improves the performance and design of water-powered cleaning tools.

“SCAPE is a unique accelerator in that we are the only public and private sector accelerator,” says Elizabeth Marsh, SCAPE director. “First Southwest Bank has been a wonderful partner who recognizes the unique challenges of rural entrepreneurs.They have been instrumental in helping us launch over 25 companies, with 17 million in raised capital, and over 80 new local jobs. Their long-time support has helped to enhance our remote and rural economy in infinite ways.”

For more information on SCAPE you can visit or contact SCAPE’s director, Elizabeth Marsh, directly at You can also follow SCAPE on Facebook at