INterview with Charisse Bowen, Galvanize Fort Collins campus director

Thursday October 29, 2015 0 comments Tags: Charisse Bowen, Galvanize FoCo


Charisse Bowen is campus director of Galvanize Fort Collins, which opened in August in Old Town Fort Collins at 242 Linden St.

Bowen is the former director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship in the Colorado State University College of Business. During her two-plus year tenure, she helped launch the Institute's Venture Accelerator and the $250,000 Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge, the biggest payout pitch competition in Colorado. Charisse_BowenUSE

In September 2010 she was named one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Young Professionals in Colorado Business" by ColoradoBiz magazine. 

Q: There are many co-working spaces in Northern Colorado. What makes Galvanize different?

A: Galvanize is more than just a startup community. We’ve bridged a longstanding gap by bringing industry partners, ambitious students, world-class education, and passionate founders under one roof. Our campuses are home to energetic entrepreneurs, skilled programmers, and men and women motivated to make an impact. That is what differentiates us from just being a co-working space.

Q: Galvanize's theme is "Level Up." What kind of culture are you hoping to create and what will it mean for Galvanize members?

A: We believe in making education and growth accessible to anyone – especially underrepresented groups in the tech industry. Whether you’re a founder, student, or just someone who wants to level up their career, we want Galvanize to be a welcoming, inclusive place where you can take the next step in your journey.

Q: Galvanize has campuses in Denver, Boulder, San Francisco, etc. Why Fort Collins?

A: Fort Collins has been ranked the No. 2 Most Entrepreneurial City in America and one of the most exciting places for startups and founders in Colorado. We opened the doors to our campus in Fort Collins in early August, and we already have 54 member companies. 

We think this is a market with a ton of potential – smart, ambitious people exist everywhere, even outside of major US tech hubs. The Fort Collins Galvanize campus has brought energy and organization to the tech startup community in a really uniquely Fort Collins way.

Q: What cool chemistry has occurred at Galvanize Fort Collins since it opened last summer?

A: There have been a number of awesome member connections and 'aha' moments since Galvanize opened. There have been brand-new ventures receive their first round of funding to new jobs being created and new talent finding this market.

Q: Education is very important to Galvanize's mission. What specifically will that mean in Fort Collins (programs, etc.)?

A: At Galvanize Fort Collins, we offer educational programs such as Galvanize Full Stack Developer program and host regular tech-focused meetups and events. There are no other short-term immersive programs available for people wanting to become developers here in Northern Colorado. Galvanize is filling a gap in this market in regards to the developer talent pool. We had 20 students start the new Full Stack program here in Fort Collins on Oct. 26th, and in six months we will have 20 new programmers ready to put into the workforce here.

For Fort Collins, we’re excited to tap into the market and provide workshops, meetups, and formal courses that will help the local community get the skills they need and meet others who can help them grow.