Hannah Parsons, chief economic development officer for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC, is leaving the business group at month's end to take on a leadership role at a new organization to help cybersecurity startups grow.
The organization, called Exponential Impact, is designed to turn entrepreneurs' ideas for cybersecurity, block-chain currencies and artificial intelligence businesses into thriving Colorado Springs-based companies. The so-called accelerator is the brainchild of Vance Brown, interim CEO of the National Cybersecurity Center and former CEO of Springs-based Cherwell Software LLC.
Exponential Impact plans to accept up to 10 clients beginning next spring for a program that includes a one-week "launch camp" at a ranch west of Colorado Springs, three months in the accelerator with coaching and mentoring and a two-day event where entrepreneurs can pitch their companies to potential investors.
Parsons joined the Chamber & EDC in October 2015 as chief community development officer and was promoted in January to chief economic development officer. She oversaw business attraction, retention and expansion initiatives, government affairs and workforce development.
"Hannah's commitment to transforming our region's business climate, as well as her ability to develop relationships and strategy, have been essential to the Chamber & EDC's economic development program this year," said Dirk Draper, the chamber's CEO. "She helped set a course for Colorado Springs as competitive city for business. I am thankful for her work and look forward to her ongoing contributions to our community."
Draper said the organization is in the early stages of planning for a replacement, but Parson's duties will be temporarily divided among existing staff.
"The Chamber & EDC is well positioned to accelerate economic development and continue our work to enrich and raise the profile of business in Colorado Springs," he said. "We are currently weighing our options and will use this time to evaluate any opportunities that may be leveraged."