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Colorado Enterprise Fund Launches Veteran Loan Program - VALOR

Monday, November 06, 2017

CEF Launches Small Business Loan Program for Veterans – VALOR

The Loveland Business Development Center (LBDC) has received notification that the Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is launching a new small business loan program for veterans. The loan program, created to support U.S. military veterans and Gold Star Families (surviving spouses and children of veterans) in Colorado, will officially launch on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2017.

Veteran Access Loan Opportunity Resource (VALOR) will provide discounted loan rates and extended terms for military veterans who are unable to secure financing through traditional banks. The VALOR loan program offers loan amounts up to $500,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, property improvements, business purchases and purchases of commercial real estate. The program offers a loan rate that is discounted 2% from standard CEF rates with loan terms of up to 10 years and interest-only periods of up to six months.

One in 10 businesses are veteran-owned businesses, and those businesses employ six million workers, generating $1.2 trillion in annual receipts, according to the Small Business Administration, or SBA.

Previously, the SBA offered two loan programs that were created specifically for veteran-owned businesses: the Patriot Express Loan (which expired in 2013) and the SBA Veterans Advantage Loan Program (which expired in October 2014). It is exciting to see that CEF is introducing this new program during National Veterans Small Business Week (Oct. 30 through Nov. 3). Although CEF has not previously offered a formal program for military veterans and their families, over the past two decades, CEF has provided 30 loans to veterans in Colorado totaling $1.2 million. These loans have created 200 jobs and allowed for the retention of nearly 100 jobs statewide.

Those interested in applying for the VALOR loan program can apply online via the CEF website and/or can contact Mike Jensen, CEF senior loan officer and U.S. Army veteran, at mike@coloradoenterprisefund.org. CEF is a community partner of the Loveland Business Development Center. LBDC clients can schedule an appointment with Lewis Hagler, CEF director of credit, at the LBDC office on Wednesday afternoons.

The Loveland Business Development Center offers free business counseling and low cost workshops to Loveland residents and businesses.

 

About Colorado Enterprise Fund
Founded in 1976, Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides loans up to $500,000 to finance small businesses and startups unable to obtain funding through traditional banks. With a mission to accelerate community prosperity by financing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, CEF has provided over $64 million in loans to more than 2,000 businesses to help create or retain over 17,000 jobs in the state. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CEF is based in Denver with a satellite office in Fort Collins. CEF’s lending and consulting services are available statewide. For more information, visit: www.coloradoenterprisefund.org

O'Connell Speaking at National SBDC Conference

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mike O'Connell, Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Director, will be a presenter at the National SBDC conference in September, in Nashville Tennessee. Over 1400 small business development professionals attend this annual conference to sharpen their consulting skills, and learn about useful entrepreneurial resources. O'Connell will present “My Top Six Ways That Businesses Get Into Trouble”. This information was also featured in BizWest magazine’s May 2017 edition.

The Warehouse Business Accelerator Announces New Executive Director

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Warehouse Business Accelerator Announces New Executive Director
August 14, 2017

LOVELAND, CO – The Warehouse Business Accelerator, a public-private regionally supported economic development engine, has appointed Bryan Pederson as leader and Executive Director for the organization.
Pederson began his new role in early July and brings to the Acceler
ator more than 10 years of regional business and community development experience that includes former leadership of Thrivent Financial’s community engagement initiatives in Central California and formation of the Safe at Home program with Rebuilding Together Peninsula.
“Bryan as the Executive Director is the perfect fit in our city’s economic eco system as his passions and purpose is driving business development and community engagement. His servant leadership, networking capabilities, and positive attitude make him ideal for the position,” reported Jay Dokter, founder of the Warehouse.
"The Warehouse program is distinctly different from other business incubator programs because of the maturity of the companies it serves," Dokter said. "Companies enabled by The Warehouse are typically graduates from the incubator phase. They have a tested product and are ready to "scale up" to bring their product to market, generate revenue and hire employees."
“I look forward to serving and partnering with the area’s stage II companies in this capacity” remarks Bryan. “I am dedicated to this sector because it is a primary driver of economic growth and creator of jobs in our communities. The Warehouse Business Accelerator plays a key role in supporting and developing company capacity to improve this region’s quality of life.”
The Warehouse's primary funding source comes from the Loveland Business Partnership (LBP) with collaboration and support from the City of Loveland and other organizations. The Warehouse provides select incubator graduates and Stage II companies access to an integrated regional ecosystem. This includes expert advice, capital, supply chain partners, research resources, market connections, and physical resources for the purpose of accelerating their revenue growth, scale-up, and growth of primary jobs.

LBP Board Member, Douglas Rutledge, said “The Warehouse's founders have been working alongside many of the existing entrepreneurial support entities to build out a missing piece of the regional ecosystem in Northern Colorado. Collaboration, a regional footprint, local, state, international sources of capital and tech industry cluster development are all ingredients to The Warehouse's success.”

The Warehouse is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and is eligible to receive funding through sponsorship, in-kind donations, grants and government sources.

The Loveland Business Partnership (LBP) is an organization comprised of Loveland business leaders interested in promoting and supporting business growth and opportunity within the city that provides high quality employment opportunities for current and future citizens.

Spidertrax

Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Spidertrax Off-Road
Owner: Thom Kingston















Story written by: Shelley Widhalm
Photos Courtesy of Spidertrax

Thom Kingston helped start Loveland-based Spidertrax Off-Road not in a garage like some startups but in a fully equipped shop at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
In 1999, Kingston and his former partner and co-founder, Eddie Casanueva, initially snuck into the school after-hours to develop and manufacture parts for the off-road industry until they got official approval and could work during the daytime. “We were manufacturing all of our parts, using the tools of the university to pull it off,” said Kingston, who has a degree in mechanical engineering.

Kingston and Casanueva moved their fledgling operation to Longmont in 2001, bringing a few parts on pallets. They relocated the shop again in 2014 into an 8,000-square-foot building at 174 12th St., SE.

Spidertrax makes products for rock crawling, a motor sport involving driving over tough, rocky terrain. The company, which produces everything in-house, develops and manufactures drive trains, axles, hub units and knuckles, all for the front and rear of the off-road vehicle.

“When we competed in racing and rock crawling, 
you couldn’t get through a day of rock crawling without something breaking,” Kingston said. “It was what happened, because it was so extreme.”
Kingston, who has a staff of 16, takes the approach of looking for causes of failure to improve his product lines, regularly meeting with top off-road drivers at competitions. He doesn’t simply design on paper or use Computer-Aided Design but employs materials, workmanship, and engineering and design principles to transform what the machines can do.

His product lines impressed the producer of “Monster Trucks,” who called Kingston last year to request design specs for drive trains, axles and other parts to use in movie stunts, along with a large inventory of spares. Kingston didn’t hear from the producer after putting in his order, so when the movie came out, he decided to email him. With an apology, the producer said what Kingston had made at Spidertrax was of such high quality nothing broke.

 “It’s nice to be able to serve and over deliver, and I try to stay on my toes for that,” Kingston said.

To continue expanding his business, Kingston began working with Robert Coffey, a Loveland Business Development Center/Larimer Small Business Development Center financial specialist, in February 2016. Kingston, who had reached a point where he needed to generate more sales to grow his business, wanted to get ideas for improving his budgeting and financing.
“The key thing Thom wanted to focus on was a financial budget because there 
 seemed to be a lot of wasted resources, and forming a budget helps you develop discipline in operations,” Coffey said. “How does that financial data give you perspective on how your company is performing?” 

 Coffey helped give Kingston direction to improve his interpretation of the balance sheet and P&L statement financial data in making sound business decisions, he said. 

“It played a very key role at the exact right time,” Kingston said. “They have been absolutely phenomenal in taking the business to the next step.”

Trailcraft Cycles

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Family First, Business, Amazing!


















Trailcraft Cycles
Owners: Ginger and Brett Rosenbauer

Story written by: Lee Porter
Photography by: Lee Porter

When their son Elijah was three, Ginger and Brett Rosenbauer put him on a bike and he took off like a rocket.

Elijah just turned seven when he got his first “real” bike, and it turned out to be heavy, and needing modification. So, it was in the hot tub of their west Fort Collins home that Ginger, a stay at home mom and Brett, an executive at the Fort Collins bike manufacturer Niner, decided to start Trailcraft, a bike company devoted to small ones—kids, and now, small adults.

Coming up with an idea is one thing, putting together a business is another. Brett took on the task of researching:
“I have a pretty good pulse on the market, so I feel like we saw a trend, maybe three years before it was ready, and we launched at the prime time,” he said.

Ginger set about the work of learning how to run a business. As a MSW social worker, her education didn’t help much, but when Public Service Credit Union recommended she seek help at the SBDC, she was delighted.

“I needed help with the accounting piece, with inventory and cash flow analysis,” Ginger said.
And I got it with Andrea (Grant). She’s been a great help.

“Andrea gave us a great set of spreadsheets that has had a profound effect—inventory management, cash flow analysis. This has been really helpful in going to the banks. It (made) us look really professional as a company to have all our ducks in a row. It’s meant we’ve been able to get good lending-- which has been super important to us.”

“We did a first small run of 50 frames and parts. We launched two ways, on Kickstarter and our website with Rocket Jones.” Ginger added.

“I think both Ginger and I saw this as an opportunity to create our own business that will work with our family. We can take Fridays off and go camping together. At Niner I was the original Fort Collins employee. It was a lot of work—70-80-hour weeks, so I’ve got an understanding of what it takes to start a company from the beginning,” Brett said.

“The key is that we captured a market that was emerging,” said Ginger. “We were able to see, like Niner in the 29-inch wheels, that the market timing was just right when we launched with TrailCraft. Now, the market is really taking notice.

“We’ve gone from focusing solely on little kids to 9-14 year olds with our 27” bike and now an even bigger bike designed for smaller women.”

“We have fun playful bikes for anyone who’s under 5”6’,” Brett said.

What would the Rosenbauers recommend for budding entrepreneurs? Go to the SBDC, Ginger says. “It is so amazing to me the level of professional advice and it’s free, it just blows my mind.”




Find Something New! Pop-Ups at Mesh

Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Find Something New is a Pop-up Event featuring the products of local artisans and entrepreneurs- makers, designers and developers alike.  

Mesh is located at 242 Linden Street in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins. We provide pop-up vendors with electricity,  water and restroom facilities. We require our vendors to provide their own tables and equipment. Times are subject to change but typically our pop-up's run from 12:00pm-9:00pm on Friday & 10:00am-4:00pm on Saturday. Mesh charges a booth rental fee per day based on the amount of sq. footage each vendor uses as well as a percentage of sales.

Upcoming Dates:

  • April 7th & 8th
  • May 5th & 6th
  • June 2nd & 3rd
If you are a vendor interested in participating, click here to apply!


Happy National SBDC Day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


To celebrate the collective impact and success the SBDC has had across the state and in local communities each year, Colorado is participating in the first national SBDC Day on March 22. SBDC Day is a national movement to help share the small business success stories and notable impact SBDCs have fostered in communities nationwide.

The day will include a Governor's Proclamation proclaiming March 22, 2017 as Small Business Development Day. The Proclamation will be read by Stephanie Copeland, executive director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), on the steps of the Capitol.

Business has changed dramatically over the last 30 years, and the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network has been there throughout. Since 1987, Colorado's SBDC- the only statewide program of its kind -has helped aspiring and emerging small business owners achieve the American dream of entrepreneurship. Help share in the excitement by using #COSBDC #SBDCDay today!

Colorado Creates Grant Guidelines and Application Now Available

Monday, March 13, 2017
DENVER - March 1, 2017 - Guidelines are now available for Colorado Creative Industries' Colorado Creates grant program. The purpose of Colorado Creates, CCI's largest grant program, is to provide critical financial support that helps nonprofit cultural organizations and communities produce and present arts and cultural activities, bringing jobs to their communities and enhancing the quality of life. 
 
"These grants support the arts organizations and artists who are critical to Colorado's economy," said Margaret Hunt, Director of Colorado Creative Industries. "By investing in this sector's vitality, the state builds its reputation as a premier creative hub and reaps significant economic returns."
 
For the current fiscal year, a total of 180 grants were awarded in 47 counties across the state totaling $1.3M, an increase from the 162 grants awarded the prior year. The agency's grants benefit both small and large communities, and 47% of grant funds were awarded in towns and cities located outside the Denver metro area.
 
Colorado Creates has a two-year grant funding period for successful applicants. Organizations awarded in last year's cycle are eligible to submit a Mid-Cycle Report instead of a full application. Those reports are due by 4p.m. on Thurs., April 20, 2017. View a list of organizations eligible for the second year funding here.


All other applicants will complete the full Colorado Creates application, which is due by 4p.m. on Thurs., June 1, 2017 for programs and activities occurring during the two-year period between Oct. 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2019. Eligible applicants can review the guidelines and application instructions for the Colorado Creates full application here.


ELIGIBILITY

Grant applicants for Colorado Creates must be Colorado 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organizations or independent components of Colorado public colleges or universities, or government agencies. Applicants must have been providing public arts or cultural heritage programs in Colorado for at least three years by the application deadline and have a minimum cash operating budget of $25,000.  

GRANT AMOUNTS & REVIEW CRITERIA

Colorado Creates awards range from $4,000 to $10,000 and are awarded annually on a competitive basis. Proposals are reviewed by panels based on three review criteria:• Artistic excellence and merit of proposed activities
Community involvement and benefit from proposed activities
Implementation capacity, such as effective planning, management, and budgeting of the organization and the project.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applicants seeking assistance are advised to contact Creative Industries Division counselors well in advance of the application deadline. Prior to contacting a grant counselor, applicants should read the guidelines thoroughly. Both returning and first-time grant applicants will be using an online grant system, and must be registered and approved for eligibility prior to starting the application process. Staff may be contacted at 303.892.3840 or at OEDIT_CreativeIndustries@state.co.us. 

APPLICATION TOOLS

Creative Industries staff has developed a resource handbook to assist with the application process. Online tutorials and staff assistance will also be available. Updates will be posted on www.coloradocreativeindustries.org.  
About Colorado Creative Industries
Colorado Creative Industries, Colorado's state arts agency, is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). Established to capitalize on the immense potential for our creative sector to enhance economic growth in Colorado, the mission of Colorado Creative Industries is to promote, support and expand the creative industries to drive Colorado's economy, grow jobs and enhance our quality of life.

Front Range Community College Hosts SBDC 30 Years!

Wednesday, March 08, 2017
The Colorado SBDC Network offers free and low-cost resources to small business owners throughout the state. Each SBDC center has a local host, who is also a significant financial supporter for that center. 2017 marks 30 years since Front Range Community College has hosted both the Larimer and North Metro Denver SBDCs. 

On March 7, 2017, the City of Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell recognized this contribution with a “Thank You” proclamation, presented to Dr. Jean Runyon, Vice President of the Front Range Community College Larimer Campus.


Thank you, Front Range Community College, for your support and prioritizing small business education in Northern Colorado!




2016 Larimer SBDC Annual Report

Tuesday, March 07, 2017
 

Mike O'Connell

Larimer SBDC Director      
2016 was a breakout year for the Larimer SBDC in terms of strategic partner relationships, consulting and economic impact metrics, and local awareness of our center. 

Early 2016 saw us coordinating and integrating with the restructured Loveland Business Development Center (LBDC).We are now working seamlessly together, with the SBDC acting as a key "content provider" to the LBDC. The LBDC team has worked very hard, and brought a lot of value to the Loveland small business community. During 2016, we added consulting availability in Berthoud and Wellington, so that entrepreneurs can access SBDC services at any municipality in Larimer County. 

In November, we worked with the East Colorado SBDC and the Colorado SBDC lead center to execute the inaugural Northern Colorado Women's Small Business Conference, held at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, which was a huge success with over 350 attendees. We also continue to manage the "Recovery Colorado" disaster recovery program, with the support of the Estes Park Economic Development Corporation. This grant program has provided over $2.3M to 59 Estes Valley small businesses. 

Almost all of our 2016 metrics are record high numbers for our center. We consulted with 640 clients over nearly 3,500 consulting hours, more than double our 2013 client count, and almost triple our 2013 consulting hours. We also conducted 100 trainings/workshops, attended by over 1,000 entrepreneurs. 

The plan for 2017 is to " .. do it the same, but better .. ". We will be strongly promoting three of our higher-end programs to support growing existing businesses. We will support the Fort Collins and Loveland Start Up weeks in February and April. We will again execute the Women's Small Business Conference in November 2017. Most importantly, 2017 marks the 30th year that Front Range Community College (FRCC) has hosted and significantly sponsored the North Metro Denver and Larimer SBDC centers, and we will be conducting a major campaign throughout 2017 to say a huge "Thank You" to FRCC for their support of Northern Colorado entrepreneurs. 

We have a great well-connected team that makes it all of the above happen. Terri Donovan-Keirns manages the hundreds of consulting sessions and numerous classes with exceptional competence and thoroughness. Our administrator and FRCC graduate Kat Rico has really enhanced the "face" of both the North Metro Denver and Larimer through her marketing and social media skills. Our consulting network is strong, committed, and engaged, and the best its ever been, in my opinion. I also have the privilege of being the Co-Chair of the Larimer County Workforce Development Board (WDB) this year, which supports the critical and extensive work done by the Larimer County Workforce Center. 

2016 was a rewarding year, and I look forward to working with all of you in 2017! 

Mike O'Connell
Larimer SBDC Director

Read the Full Larimer SBDC 2016 Annual Report