Project X-ITE Managing Director Named One of Denver's 40 Under 40 Winners
The Denver Business Journal has honored Nina Sharma, managing director of DU’s Project X-ITE, naming her to its 40 Under 40 list for 2019.
Chosen from a pool of more than 400 applicants, Sharma stands out for her leadership, business success and community involvement.
“It’s a really nice recognition of all the work we’ve put in here to build Project X-ITE as a community and a vibrant part of the University,” says Sharma, who joined the University in 2016. “I’ve really been given the space to explore and turn it into dynamic group of students and faculty members who are excited about innovation and starting up ventures.”
Since its creation three years ago, Project X-ITE — which stands for the cross-disciplinary intersection of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship — has established itself as an impactful program for DU students interested in working at or launching startups. Those in the program develop their ideas through University programming, such as the Pioneering Summer accelerator and the new Incubator X for early-stage ideas. Drawing on its connections to the community, X-ITE also sponsors a number of networking events and builds mentoring relationships between students, alumni and business leaders.
Sharma was Project X-ITE’s second hire, brought onboard by JB Holston, dean of the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science. During her tenure, she also has co-founded and grown the Denver Startup Week Pitch Competition, as well as co-created the Colorado Solutions Summit in partnership with the United Nations, the U.N. Foundation and the Colorado governor’s office.
“Nina has contributed an extraordinary amount in a very few years to accelerating and amplifying the Colorado innovation community,” Holston says. “She’s successfully led a path-breaking effort at DU to connect multiple disciplines around innovation and entrepreneurship to the broader Colorado innovation eco-system — extraordinarily difficult to do in traditionally siloed environments like higher education. She is an absolute dynamo, and Colorado is very fortunate indeed that she’s here.”
Outside of the office, Sharma is also a student in the Daniels College of Business executive MBA program. In 2016, she founded the Whole Truth Booth, a startup with a mission of bridging political, social and cultural divides through visual storytelling.
She is actively involved in the community, serving on boards for Global Dental Relief, the Swallow Hill Music Association and the Hamilton College Alumni Association. Sharma is also an alum of the the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation.
“Nina is one of the best ‘get things done’ people in the city,” says Marty Katz, executive director of Project X-ITE. “She is an excellent networker who uses her vast network for the betterment of students and entrepreneurs in our city and beyond. She is highly respected in the Denver entrepreneurship community, for good reason.”
The Denver Business Journal will honor Sharma at its 40 Under 40 event, which takes place from 5:30–8 p.m. Thursday, March 7 at the Hilton Denver City Center. She also will be featured in a special print section of the newspaper.
“It’s truly an honor,” Sharma says. “I’m also really excited that it gets recognition for X-ITE and DU. We’re building awesome things here, and this is an incredibly nice way to acknowledge everything that we’re doing.”
Other DU Honorees
Once again, the University of Denver is well represented on the Denver Business Journal's 40 Under 40 list. Congratulations to the following winners:
- Nina Sharma, managing director at Project X-ITE, EMBA student
- Maritza Dominguez Braswell (BA '02, Public Policy & Communications)
- Carolyn Witkus (JD '07), president at Griffiths Law
- Scott Laband (MA '10, Education, Leadership and Organizational Change), president at Colorado Succeeds
- Amanda Gonzales (JD'11), executive director at Colorado Common Cause
- Paula Bovo (JD '06), attorney and owner at Bovo Law
- Marisol Villagomez (Latino Leadership Institute '15), senior marketing manager at the Denver Broncos Football Club
- Matt Huelskamp (BSBA '02, MBA '16), president at Hyder Construction Inc.
- Brianna Borin (BA '09), senior vice president of people at Snooze an A.M. Eatery