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Longtime nonprofit leader named Peak Startup's executive director

March 9, 2016 Updated: March 9, 2016 at 1:49 pm
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Peak Startup, formed by the 2014 merger of two Colorado Springs startup groups, has hired longtime nonprofit executive Royce Gomez as its first executive director.

The organization hired Gomez last month after a three-month search that attracted 40 applicants and interviews with seven candidates, said Michelle Parvinrouh, who had been Peak Startup's interim program director and a member of the search committee along with board members Lisa Tessarowicz and Sarah Harris.

"It is really important to us to build the startup community," Parvinrouh said. "We wanted someone with administrative skills that also understands the startup scene. That is something Royce understood. She has been involved in Startup Week and had started a business herself and really understands what it takes."

Peak Startup organizes and supports more than 100 events a year, ranging from monthly "pitch nights," where entrepreneurs can refine their investor pitch in presentations to each other to the weeklong celebration of startups and entrepreneurship that is Startup Week and includes dozens of events. Part of her duties as executive director will be for Gomez to raise another $75,000 to match donations the group has already secured to help pay her salary, although the terms of her contract are still being negotiated with the group's board, Parvinrouh said.

Gomez was most recently a business consultant in the Orlando, Fla., area working with Junior Achievement of Central Florida on its biggest fundraising event, with a for-profit business incubator developing a sales and marketing plan and with a vacation rental company on sales and marketing. She also was program manager for the Christian Help Foundation in Casselberry, Fla., which helped people at risk of homelessness with food and rent, and was executive director of Freedom Trails, a local nonprofit that used horseriding to help at-risk individuals learn life skills.

"I'm ecstatic about returning home (to Colorado) to join this growing ecosystem and a team that's really becoming an economic drive building the Colorado Springs region. My passion is to connect, engage and grow the startup ecosystem into something that emulates successful cities across the United States while making it uniquely Colorado Springs," Gomez said.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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