SBDC Template


Larimer SBDC Increased Consulting in First Half of 2014 by 62%

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided 1304 hours of free confidential consulting for its clients in the first half of 2014, a 62% increase over first half 2013 hours.

“We’ve done a lot of work over the last year to reach out to the business community, and let them know we can be a productive resource . Our consultants have done a great job of delivering value to the 284 clients we’ve served so far this year.”, says Mike O’Connell, Larimer SBDC Director.

Terri Donovan-Keirns, Larimer SBDC Program Coordinator, adds “ we’ve brought in some consultants with specific skill sets to help our clients. We’ve added two restaurant/food consultants, a supply chain expert, and more marketing specialists. We also have beverage/distillery and construction experts going through our consulting accreditation process, and they should be on-board shortly.”

The Larimer SBDC provides free confidential consulting and a wide range of low-cost business workshops.  The Larimer SBDC is hosted locally by Front Range Community College, and sponsored by the SBA, City of Fort Collins Economic Health Office, First National Bank, and others. The Larimer SBDC recently relocated into The Innosphere business incubator at 320 East Vine Street, Fort Collins.

Foodies Rule the Fort! Panel Discussion on Bringing Food to Market

Monday, July 28, 2014

This Friday, August 1st from 12-1:30 our Summer Series Workshops features a panel of four Foodies that will share their experiences and lessons learned on bringing food to market.  While the session is free, registration is required.  


Do you have an idea for a restaurant? Do you want to start a farm? Do you have a great food product that you want to see on the shelves of grocery stores?

This is your opportunity to learn from those who have gone before you in the food venture. Hear their stories and ask your questions.

Panelists include:

Henry Mouton
General Manager Motherlove Herbal Company

Henry Mouton is a business management and operations executive with over 26 years of experience in the restaurant industry as COO/Sustainability Director for The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurants. After helping build the company to 7 locations, Henry left the company in late 2012 to pursue the study of sustainability through Cleantech Fellows Institute, and to provide startups with advisory and mentoring assistance through the SAGE program at Rocky Mountain Innoshere. His areas of focus are operations and management, organizational development, and strategic planning. Henry enjoys the outdoors through hiking, cycling, and snowboarding.

Michael Baute
Spring Kite Farm
Together, Meghan and Michael have over 8 years of experience growing organic and biodynamic vegetables on the Front Range. In early 2012, after months of seeking the perfect land, they connected with the Mead family to lease their family farm on South Taft Hill Road. So began Spring Kite Farm. With formal education in both Soil Science and Zoology, they manage the farm and the land in a way that builds resilience and increases fertility. They can be found at the Larimer County Farmers Market, at restaurants in Fort Collins (including Café Vino, Wild Boar, Jax Fish House, Restaurant 415, Spoons, and others), and also offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares.

Chris Feuille
White Buffalo Kitchen
Chris started WB Kitchen in 2012 with his wife Anna. Creating is what Chris enjoys best. Whether it be new recipes in the kitchen, making spreadsheets, or fumbling through the finances Chris always enjoys a new challenge to navigate. WB Kitchen is constantly evolving and Chris believes making decisions based upon facts, reasoning, and intuition is the best way to run his business. One of Chris’s goals for WB Kitchen is to impact foodies and entrepreneurs all over. Chris wants to show that businesses can succeed and be profitable while utilizing unconventional methods of operation. Really being clear about what you are doing is a constant idea that Chris is constantly returning to. Always remember why it is you set out upon this particular path and what it is you wish to accomplish. In his limited spare time Chris enjoys playing the violin and spending time out in the woods with his family.

Scott Hapner
Chef Happy’s Gourmet
Involved in the local food community in northern Colorado for over 14 years, most notably the last 6 years as an associate with the Northern Colorado Food Incubator (NCFI) and BeLocal. Through the NCFI, Scott has been involved with food business incubation and support for farms, restaurants, catering companies, and value-added food businesses, where they successfully created many food business development programs, seminars, events, and winter farmers markets that provide food business start-ups and existing local food businesses an environment to grow, network, and expand their market. As a chef by trade, he has spent over 17 years in the food and beverage industry working his way from the dish tank to a fine-dining chef. He has worked in casual and fine-dining restaurants in Charleston, SC and Fort Collins, CO; from steak houses and Italian restaurants to chalk-board menu cafes and upstairs to fine dining restaurants.

REGISTER and bring your questions.

Growing Your Business with the Power of Video

Monday, July 21, 2014

People love watching videos.

Plain and simple, videos can tell more of a story quicker than printed words. And, entertainment and emotion reach people. Forecasts across the board show a continual growth in internet video consumption which translate to your potential audience growing by leaps and bounds.

However, the numbers aren’t as important as what and why they’re watching it. Telling your company or product story will soon become the bedrock for most marketing web experiences. In this seminar, David Priest and Brenda Rundback of Shadow Play Films, Inc. will provide 10 great ways to use video to help you gain exposure and increase your traffic.  And, we will discuss how to make a good story and why effective storytelling is a key element to your branding, training, and marketing.

Based in northern Colorado, Shadow Play Films produces narrative films, documentaries, corporate messaging, commercials and marketing.  Their clients include film producers, manufacturing, marketers, service trades, artists, non-profits — anyone with a message to tell. Their projects are distributed locally, nationally, and internationally.

Says Priest, "We approach all projects with an entertainment value while keeping the content as the star of each production.  Many businesses are using video in new ways and we hope to share how to reach their customers through video in this workshop".

As part of the Larimer SBDC's Free Summer Series Workshop, this session will take place Friday, July 25th from 12:00-1:30.  While the session is free, registration is required.

Light snacks & refreshments will be provided. You are welcome to bring a lunch. If you are unable to attend, please call us at 970-498-9295 to give your spot to another attendee. Overflow parking is located behind the wooden fence.


 David Priest began his career in the 1980’s and continues to be a key player as director, editor and cameraman. Keeping on top of quality storytelling and messaging trends is equal to his attention to current technology.  






Brenda Rundback began in the production industry when she started working with David in 1987. She enjoys the logistical details of production and office management as well as painting a scene with light and shadows.

More information can be found at as well as



Call For Makers - NoCo Mini Maker Faire 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014
​​Call for Makers is Open!

Applications will be accepted in July and August for Maker Participation

A hands-on celebration of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness

Attention all makers, tinkerers, inventors, hackers and do-it-yourselfers: The call for entries is now open for Colorado’s largest Maker Event to be held at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology in Loveland. Any groups or individuals interested in participating in this hands-on celebration of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness canfind out more and apply at  TheNoCo Mini Maker Faire particularly encourages exhibits that are interactive and that highlight the process of making things.  The Call for Makers is open from now through August 31.  


The maker community crosses boundaries of science and art, young and old, craftsmanship and technology, coming together to create the innovation economy.  The things we make define us as a society and build our future.  The people who invent, create, and make have the power to change the world.


This unique family-friendly event draws makers from all over the State to celebrate their unbridled creativity. Last year’s event drew thousands of makers and families from across the Rocky Mountain region and this year will be even bigger and better!  We’re creating a wide range of amazing Showcases to show off all of the wonderful things you are making – take a look and join us!  


Fly me to the Moon!
Aerospace, rockets and propulsion, things that take flight.


Making the Future – Youth entrepreneurship:
Including a Youth Entrepreneurs marketplace, Middle School Innovation Center, CSU Center for Entrepreneurship


Artisan Hall:
Metal arts, folk arts, woodworking, glassblowing, textiles spinning and weaving, quilting, natural products


Innovation to Commercialization:

Idea creation, Design and Entrepreneurship -  desktoptools, prototyping, market launch services, inventors

Manufacturing/Tools of Production – CNC Milling, 3 D printing, Digitizing, tools manufacturers, craftsman, tool shop, machine shop


Fun & Games:
Cardboard Challenge, Sculpture Games, Legos, Toy Hack


Statewide Robotics competition/Action Works, Robotics Experiences and presentations


Tech tinkerers:
Electronics, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the amazing things you do with them! Fort Collins Museum of Discovery take-apart electronics, Sparkfun Soldering booth


STEAM Celebration:
Innovation in education and youth STEAM projects (STEM + A for Arts)


Connectivity paint, wire, National tech artists, Steampunk, fine arts and urban arts


Mad Scientists:
Colorado Labs – NIST, NCAR, CIRES, NREL….., science exhibitors


Pedal Power and Creative Cars:
bikes, boards, scooters, Nerdy Derby, CSU race team, art cars


Character Creators:
Making Stories, presentations from national Animators  andComic Book creators, R2D2s, Stormtroopers, Dalek, CosPlay


Local food and cultivation


In addition, we are creating collaborations throughout the region to bring you community projects that will knock your socks off!  We’re bringing in a manufacturing career faire, a VIP Maker Mixer, and a community-wide art project that you’ll be able to help create!  Stay tuned for more….


The NoCo Mini Maker Faire is an offshoot of the celebrated Maker Faire ( created in the SF Bay area that draws over 100,000 annually from all around the world. Hosted by the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, the NoCo Faire is supported by Presenting Sponsor by SparkFun Electronics.  Additional Community Sponsors include Action Works Educational Non-Profit and the City of Loveland. To follow the development of the Faire and also learn more about the emerging Maker Movement and community resources for Makers, visit the websiteat or on Facebook at

Cyd Springer - 'Springing' Her Art Business Forward with the Larimer SBDC

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Written by Jonh Feeley, Photos Courtesy Jafe Parsons and Mike O'Connell

Artist Brushes Up on Business, Social Media Skills
After 25 years in northern Colorado as a graphic artist, copywriter, and greeting card designer, Cydney Springer put down the computer mouse and took up an artist’s paintbrush. With two years of study under other artists and a lifetime of interest in painting, she set out to capture the beauty and awe of Colorado landscapes.

She works with oil paint in an Estes Park studio with windows that frame Longs Peak. It’s no wonder landscapes and nature are her forte.

Exhibitions throughout United States
Over the past 10 years, she has exhibited throughout the United States, from the American Artist Professional League Annual Show in 2006 in New York City; Nomadas del Arte exhibitions in Santa Fe, N.M., and Dallas, Texas, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art in Alabama, and seven times an artist featured in the Governor’s Invitational Show in Loveland, Colo.

Several galleries represent her work: Aspen and Evergreen Gallery in Estes Park, Elk Horn Gallery in Winter Park, Mary Williams Fine Arts in Boulder, Rich Timmons Studio and Gallery in Doylestown, Pa. And the newly opened Cydney Springer Gallery at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

The business side of art
Artists are entrepreneurs, of course. They are their own business. Like many artists, Cydney reached the point where she asked this question: How do I market myself?

She came to the Small Business Development Center and signed up for a course called Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs. It’s a 12-week business class. The Larimer County SBDC offered the class in Estes Park. 

“The SBDC entrepreneur program is multifaceted,” Cydney says. “I learned quite a lot.”

Top-notch consultants for top-notch advice
SBDC puts clients in contact with expert consultants. Cydney worked with Nelia Harper, an entrepreneur and strategist with more than 10 years of small-business ownership, sales, marketing, and business development experience. She also worked with Adam Shake, owner of Neanderthal Productions Social Media Consulting in Estes Park, and Tony Bielat, owner of Estes Park Marketing and a certified Project Management Professional.

“We went over what I had been doing and what I can do with different products,” Cydney said. She is expanding her offerings with prints, and her card line has been successful, too. Her website is set up for sales.

And now her new venture, the Cydney Springer Gallery at the Stanley. About 75 people attended the recent opening. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

As if her painting and the new gallery aren’t enough, Cydney is organizing the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters to spend a week in Rocky Mountain National Park Sept. 17-28 as part of the park’s 100th anniversary. The gala opening is Sept. 25 at the Fall River Visitors Center. The French in the name of the association says what the artists do – they paint outdoors – in the “plein air.” So instead of being in her studio looking at the mountains, Cydney will be out in nature, her inspiration.

Create Hiring Processes That "Fit" Your Business

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Series Workshop July 18

Hiring employees can be both intimidating and challenging.  When it comes to successful hiring practices, one size does not fit all.  Often, business owners will put off hiring because they don't know how to interview, how to find time to train, they are worried they won't make a good choice, and they don't know the legal requirements for hiring," says career counselor and trainer Carrie Pinsky.

This workshop is designed specifically for small business owners who are ready to make their first new hire or to support those who are in need of reorganizing or transitioning existing staff in a positive manner. We will provide “just right” tools and resources to help small businesses:

• Develop Compliant and Compelling Job Descriptions 
• Determine Compensation
• Source and Screen Candidates
• Interview for Fit
• Conduct Background and Reference Checks
• Onboard and Engage
• Transition with Dignity

Says, Carrie "We break each of these processes down into manageable, cost-sensitive steps to help you grow your business one smart hire at a time. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed but we guarantee you will leave feeling energized and empowered to take your business to the next level."

Whether you are ready to hire today or in a few months, this will take the stress out of that first hire.  Join us Friday, July 18th from noon-1:30 as part of our Free Summer Series Workshop offering.  While the course is free, registration is required.


Carrie Pinsky, M.Ed., NCC, PHR, holds a Bachelor degree in Organizational Development from Regis University and a Masters degree in Human Resource Studies from Colorado State University. Her background includes a unique mix of human resources, recruiting, training and facilitation, and career counseling. Her company, Pink Sky Career Counseling and Consulting focuses on helping individuals and organizations thrive.

IGNITE - NoCo Business Connections

Monday, July 07, 2014

Looking to establish some local connections or grow community partnerships?

Join us at Ignite NoCo Business Connections to meet and connect with like-minded local business owners.

Thursday, August 7, 2014
11:30-1:00pm at Larimer SBDC & Rocky Mountain Innosphere

Presentation: “Protecting Your Customers and Your Business from Fraud”
by First Citizens Bank of Fort Collins

The FREE event will also include:

  • Speed networking sessions
  • Time to connect in small groups with other business owners
  • Appetizers and beverages will be provided for the event.
This event is brought to you by First Citizens Bank of Fort Collins.

While the event is free, registration is required. 


Community Building: How to Build an Engaged Online Audience Around Your Brand

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Summer Series Workshop - July 11

Community building is not about social media. It’s about people. It’s not about how many followers you have. It’s about truly becoming a valuable brand and then building an engaged audience around it, both on and offline. 

Join Mackenzie Fogelson (Mack) to learn more about three of the biggest building blocks of growing your online community: the tools (using channels like content, search, social, and email), the process (starting from goals, not tools), and the measurement (how to determine whether your efforts are making a difference).

Whether you are creating a blog, a retail business or a local presence, Mack will share insights, tips and tools for creating an online community for your business.

This session will take place on Friday, July 11, from noon-1:30 at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere building on East Vine Drive in Fort Collins.

While the Summer Series is free and open to the public, registration is required.  Registration and the full roster of sessions can be found at


Mackenzie Folgelson, MackWeb
Mack is the Founder and CEO of Mack Web, an online community and brand building company (and also a Mercury 100 Company, one of the fastest growing companies in Northern Colorado). 

She is a proud blogger for Moz, Conductor, and has been a featured speaker at MozCon, SearchLove, and other top industry conferences. Mack's passion is growing a remarkable company, an exceptional team, and making a noticeable difference in the businesses we serve. 

Mack has an M.A. in English (past life), is crazy about her family (most days), and is proud to be growing her company here in Fort Collins.

Rolestorming: A New Approach to Creativity and Problem-Solving

Monday, June 23, 2014

Is your team tired of brainstorming?  Do they seem to shrink into their chairs when you say, "Let's brainstorm some ideas".  Rick Griggs, founder of Griggs Achievement and creator of rolestorming faced a similar challenge while working in Silicon Valley.   "I remember leading a team on a very challenging project," Rick said. "We just couldn't seem to make any progress.  Once I tried this method, we suddenly had several great ideas".

When ideas dry up and the old brainstorming tool no longer works try what MindTools calls one of the top creativity methods in the world. Rick’s rolestorming tool uses a unique combination of role-playing and brain-storming and is featured in several books, dozens of articles and hundreds of blogs. Use it to solve complex problems, with a partner to see the other side of an issue, or to move your team forward on a project or endeavor.  In this session, Rick Griggs, will teach you how to utilize and integrate this technique into your business.

This session will take place on Friday, June 20, from noon-1:30 at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere building on East Vine Drive in Fort Collins.

While the Summer Series is free and open to the public, registration is required.  Registration and the full roster of sessions can be found at

 Register here

Rick Griggs, creator of the rolestorming creativity tool, has degrees in psychology, business and French. His Griggs Mastery Academy helps leaders and innovators jump-start their humanity with skills, reading and balance. After management positions at National Semiconductor and Intel he founded Griggs Achievement Training & Retreats. His 7th book, Triumph in Teams, won a 1st place book award. Rick is the author of the life poem Samsara and founder of the Quid Novi Innovation Conference. His mastery circle of top priorities includes piano, French, publishing, bicycling and koi ponds.

June 20th - Free Summer Series Session: “Will My Business Make Money?”

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Series Workshop - June 20

Entrepreneurs go into business to make money on their business idea.  Ideas are laid out on napkins and the imagined dollars quickly pile up in an imaginary bank account.  But the reality is: most businesses fail.

Why do businesses fail?  While it’s ultimately because they have run out of cash, the failure started at the beginning, when the founders laid a shaky foundation upon which to build a profitable business.  Very few business owners understand their customers, and they don’t know how to reach their customers with a clear, concise message.  They don’t know how to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market to stand out from the competition or be found in an increasingly cluttered marketplace.

“Day after day, I see aspiring entrepreneurs launch businesses that are destined to fail,” says Nelia Harper, business consultant, “not because the idea isn’t viable, but the business model hasn’t been thought through.  What is the product-market fit?  How long will it take to create enough awareness to have enough sales?  Are there enough people willing and able to buy your product or service at a profit?  Very few aspiring business owners know the answer to these questions, and fewer know how to find those answers, before they jump in with both feet.”

In this hands-on workshop, Nelia will help you you will learn how to overcome the most common mistakes business owners make, understand how turn your idea into a business model you can test, and have a process that will help you decide if you should pivot, proceed, or pack it in.

This session will take place on Friday, June 20, from noon-1:30 at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere building on East Vine Drive in Fort Collins.

While the Summer Series is free and open to the public, registration is required.  Registration and the full roster of sessions can be found at

Register here.

Nelia Harper, business consultant and entrepreneur helps aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs transform ideas into profitable, sustainable businesses. With over 12 years of small business ownership, sales, marketing, and business development experience, Nelia has assisted numerous clients take businesses from idea to actuality.  She specializes in helping founders of startups create and test business models for viable product-market fit.