Rubber, beer and bottles turned to oil and gas—and today Colorado’s economy has the most diverse industries ever in our history.
Innovation is part of what has shaped our region’s diverse economy, especially the businesses at the forefront of change.
Rubber on the Road
Rubber was a major driver of the Denver metro region’s economy in the early 1900s, and Gates Rubber Company, now Gates Corporation, was leading the way. In 1911, when Charles Gates, Sr. purchased Colorado Tire and Leather, they made single product – a steel-studded band of leather that motorists fastened to their car tires to extend their mileage.
Over time, they tested new products and moved into new avenues, like cycling. In 1917, Gates invented the rubber and fabric V-belt, which changed the industrial and automotive industries. Gates established itself as the world’s largest manufacturer of V-belts, a title it still holds today.
Beer – it comes from our Rocky Mountain water and is a leading industry for Colorado. In fact, Colorado ranks second in the U.S. for employment concentration.
MillerCoors has brewed innovation since 1884, from patenting a corking machine and bottle washer to introducing the wide-mouth can and Cold Activated Bottle to consumers (a much needed innovation on a hot Colorado day). Did you know MolsonCoors brewed a special beer for the Chamber’s 150 anniversary? It’s call 150 Strong, and you can taste it Nov. 13.
Now Coors is innovating the brewing process. Behind every bottle, there is less waste and more efficiency. By 2025, they aim to improve water-use efficiency by 22 percent.
Beer and water go hand-in-hand. Join MolsonCoors and the Chamber at BusinessH2O on Nov. 7 to hear from Kim Marotta, global senior director of corporate responsibility for Molson Coors about their water innovations.
Innovation in Diversification
The Denver metro area has seen the ups and downs of the economy—from the gold rush to the oil bust of the 1980s. It was after this, with an economy that Forbes once said “can’t fall off the floor” that sparked an earnest, long process to diversify its economy. Today the Denver metro region is home to nine major industries that include 10 Fortune 500 companies.
We diversified our economy to make our region stronger and a top state to do business. Colorado is ranked as in the top five states for innovation by WalletHub and as the best place for business and careers by Forbes two years running.
Colorado’s small businesses are leading the way in innovation. Join us and the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center at State of Small Business on Nov. 9 to learn about the most innovative small businesses in the world. Here’s a hint some are right in your own backyard!
Laura James is the marketing and communications coordinator for the Denver Metro Chamber