Peggy Lyle – StartUp FoCo Podcast

Peggy Lyle, the Director for the Downtown Fort Collins Creative District, is one of the foremost advocates for treating artists like the entrepreneurs they are. She’s got her finger located directly on the pulse of our growing creative community.

You can check out Peggy’s panel Sharing Your Personal Culture: Where Dance and Music Intersect on Wednesday February 27th, 5:00pm-6:30pm @ The Music District Living Room.

Peggy, tell us about yourself!

My name is Peggy Lyle and I am the Director for the Downtown Fort Collins Creative District. And I help to organize ARTup Week.

So you’re not busy at all then?

Not at all.

What’s got you most excited about Techstars Startup Week Fort Collins and ARTup week in particular?

I’m most excited about getting everyone together. There’s such amazing synergy when lots of creative brains and entrepreneurs get together, making connections and learning new things. Those are the most exciting parts of the week.

Similar to what Franklin said, “you just have to show up and be there in this energy.”

You really do. It’s a safe space for you to bring new ideas and risky questions, things that are burning for us as entrepreneurs, as creative leaders, and we don’t always get a chance to talk about them or learn the right strategy forward without significant investment. But this is a safe space.

“Safe space” in this context meaning a coopitition-type model?

Cooperation and collaboration breed better products. We ultimately make connections that might be great business partners, mentors, or new customers. Being able to be in that safe place where you are able to talk about kind of any ideas is really liberating. You walk away inspired from the collision of diverse ideas and business models all coming together.

Besides you, who’s doing the coolest things in Northern Colorado?

There are some amazing things happening with The Music District here in Fort Collins. I’m really excited about some of the stuff that the Fort Collins Musicians Association is taking on. They have a brand new executive director and are ramping things up. There are also so many things happening in tech and in green energy and in education. I really couldn’t be more proud of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado for all of the amazing cutting-edge things that people are willing to take on.

What are you seeing as the biggest challenge in Northern Colorado creative community?

There are shared nation-wide challenges like being valued for your work, viewing the creative industry as a legitimate business center and economic development tool, and recognizing creative endeavors as a realistic career choice. We also have unique problems in Colorado and in Fort Collins having to do with the affordability of spaces and being paid a living wage. We have an amazing support system from our city infrastructures. Really great schools and wonderful things, but sometimes it’s hard to afford to continue to live in this environment. We’ve developed such an attractive place to be that there’s an influx of people who want to live here. That’s driven some of those market prices up while unfortunately it hasn’t also driven wages up.

If you could tell a Northern Colorado creative one thing what would it be?

Think about yourself as a business person. It’s not a hobby. It’s a business and that means you need a business model. It has value. You need to take it seriously. That also probably means you need help, you need other professionals to help you do your business just like any entrepreneur does.

Where can we find more about you and your work?

The Downtown Creative District is a certified district through the Colorado Creative Industries. Our website is We’re telling the unique stories of our creatives, connecting people to resources, and providing professional development as well as continuing to turn downtown Fort Collins into an arts and culture hub.

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