Colorado Springs and surrounding communities are changing fast - so much so that it is somewhat puzzling for a newcomer like me to hear some residents talk about the Springs as a place stuck in the past. 

That contrast was on display at the Regional Business Alliance gala in November. Leaders in the local business community addressed the crowd, clearly eager to dispel notions of this being a second- or third-tier city. The examples that they cited of developments in our business community are, indeed, exciting. And the stories that Gazette business reporters are finding every week bear this out. It's true that some longtime large employers have been bought or are being absorbed into other companies. Whole business sectors are shrinking. Meanwhile, however, the number and variety of businesses springing up promise a comfortable growth trajectory for the local economy. 

Many of these new enterprises do not fit the mold. They have shifted either to new areas of consumer demand, such as technology, cybersecurity, health care and others, or they are inventing ideas and products that people would not have imagined on their own.

These industries thrive on and are populated by forward-thinking entrepreneurs, and they represent the future of the Colorado Springs economy. If we do our jobs right at The Gazette, we will research, report and illuminate these important trends for our readers.

Some of the factors driving change are basic demography. Consider that Colorado Springs' population from 2010 to 2014 grew faster than the state's as a whole and, in particular, the portion of the population that is under 18 years old. The youthfulness of the city is going to change attitudes and expectations. And even if Colorado Springs was once a sleepy retirement community - which I doubt - that will no longer be the case.

Young adults - millennials - are taking a different approach to their livelihoods than boomers and other generations that preceded them. Whether by design or necessity, they are more entrepreneurial and taking unique paths to success.

Consider these examples, profiled in The Gazette's Business sections recently:

- The owners of fusesport, a software company, develop a collaborative workspace downtown for sports-themed businesses (Nov. 17).

- Three young men create CrowdFire, a mobile application that links DJs with attendees' cellphones and tablets to allow people to be part of coordinated light shows at venues such as stadiums and arenas (Nov. 13).

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- College students put together a storytelling app (Oct 30).

- Area entrepreneurs hold a wake for ideas that "died" (Nov. 2).

Another Colorado Springs sector that is not new but has taken on new importance is cybersecurity.

The Gazette is seeing more developments such as the winning of a $750,000 grant by Catalyst Campus to build an information technology and space technology network (story, Dec. 15).

All of these examples tell us that this is a city that is vibrant, diverse and endlessly innovative.

In our Business section, our goal is to tell the stories of the individuals who gave the spark to these new businesses, while continuing to cover the institutions that are mainstays of Colorado Springs' economy.

In the coming year, look to our pages and to our website for a clear picture not only of where Colorado Springs stands today, but of its future.


Ted Rayburn, a Tennessee native, joined The Gazette as business editor in October. He wants to hear from you about everything relating to business and the southern Colorado economy. Reach him at 719-636-0194 or

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