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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.

City of Fort Collins Community Development Scholarship

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
By Stu Crair


The City of Fort Collins (CFC) and Digital Workshop Center (DWC) have announced a $10,000 partnered scholarship opportunity for the residents of Fort Collins.  Named the ‘Community Development Scholarship’, the goal of this scholarship is to “help individuals and professionals to close the technology skills gaps that may exist in the Fort Collins workplace.”

Awards for this scholarship will be primarily divided amongst several sections of the local workforce: non-profits, teachers/educators, job seekers/unemployed/under-employed, and business professionals seeking career transition.

The City of Fort Collins’ Economic Health Office has generously provided $5,000 of scholarship funds to be distributed.  In addition, Digital Workshop Center is matching this $5,000 amount for a total award of scholarship funds available set at $10,000.  Award amounts will range from $250 to $1000 per individual.

“As more educational and work opportunities require technology skills, the City and Digital Workshop Center are excited to partner to provide educational access to a broader segment of our community,” said Jacqueline Kozak-Thiel, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Fort Collins. “We want to ensure that we’re bridging the financial gap for those in our community who are seeking personal improvement and upward skills mobility.”
According to Stu Crair, owner of Digital Workshop Center, this scholarship “is designed to help as many people as possible within our local community who are seeking to improve their technology skills.  There is a serious skills gap between the local workforce and the companies hiring in Fort Collins.  We hope this scholarship will help improve the talent of the local applicant pool as our city continues to grow."

The application process will begin on November 1st and close on December 1st. Interested applicants may apply online at DigitalWorkshopCenter.com/scholarship.  A panel of DWC staff and local professional development experts will review all applications and final decisions made in mid-December.

Complete rules and requirements for eligibility are listed on the scholarship website page.

Founded in 2006, Digital Workshop Center is a locally-owned private occupational school, Adobe Authorized Training Center, and coworking hub with locations in Fort Collins, Denver, and online.  DWC offers professional development and training classes on design software programs, desktop applications, business solutions and advanced computer training concepts.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Liz White at 970-980-8091 or email at liz@digitalworkshopcenter.com.

DOL Rules - What You Need to Know

Thursday, June 23, 2016

by Stacy Stolen

Real Value Consulting/VolkBell Insurance



The rules are here … now what?

Here's What You Need to Know

Anyone earning less than $913.00 per week; or $47, 476 annualized base:
• Is now (most likely) entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week
• Is now required to track and account for all hours worked within respective time keeping periods

How you make and communicate required adjustments to an individual's current salaried compensation is up to you, and there are several options you might consider. Here are five simple steps you must take now to comply with the FLSA’s latest changes, and make sure you stay in compliance in the years ahead.
1. Increase salaries of current exempt employees to more than $913 per week or $47,476 per year. Exempt employees earning more than that will not be entitled to overtime.

2. Reduce bonuses for exempt employees whose overall compensation exceeds the new minimums. Increase salaries by the bonus amounts.

3. Reclassify exempt employees as nonexempt and pay them hourly. Of course, you will still have to pay overtime when they work more than 40 hours per week.

4. Reclassify exempt employees and pay them on a commission or fluctuating-workweek basis. Consult your attorney to learn more about the fluctuating workweek system, which pays a salary to nonexempt employees whose schedules vary from week to week.

5. Increase staffing levels to eliminate unnecessary overtime.

You can be assured that the DOL, which has already increased its investigative force by 33% since 2010, will put employers under even more scrutiny in 2017 by visiting many employers and auditing; be sure to reach out if you need more information!

2016 Summer Series Announcement!

Friday, May 20, 2016

2016 Summer Series

For the fourth year in a row, the Larimer SBDC is proud to announce our 2016 Summer Series! We're bringing you 6 unique workshops to make your Fridays over the summer just a little more productive. Join us Fridays from 12:00 - 1:30 for a light lunch and 90 minutes of great education for just $10. Click on any of the images below for more class information and to register!

     Carl Dierschow - Small Fish Business Coaching

Many leaders start a business because of their passion to make a better world. Perhaps you want to support artisans in Cambodia or farmers in Ecuador. Maybe you’re seeking to give jobs to veterans or handicapped in the community. Or to create a business model which is zero carbon emissions. Whatever your cause, let’s get some key insights into how to balance the difficult tradeoffs and create a thriving business for decades to come. In this session, we’ll see some inspiring examples from various industries and dig into their underlying success factors. Carl will introduce us to an approach which captures the balance between the “hard” and “soft” goals of the business, and the process of leading toward attainment of you particular vision.

     Tyler Brooks - Analytive

So you need a website, but don't have a budget to hire someone else to build it. No problem! We'll show you how to build your own website quickly with a small upfront investment. Why spend thousands of dollars when you can get most of what you need from a simple, low cost solution? We'll dig into some of the common platforms and help you get a website up and going quickly. We'll also discuss the role of your website in your overall marketing picture.

     Don Poe - People Productions

Everyone wants a viral video - but is that really the best solution for your company? How do you convert a 'Like' into an actual sale? This session will teach you easy strategies to help you make a video that will get your customers to find you and buy from you. We’ll have interactive exercises to help you apply the learning in your own business, so make sure you bring your tablet or smartphone!

     Emily Wilson - Innosphere

How can startups and small businesses start to form reporter relationships? What do you need to know about BizWest Media’s approach to coverage? Join BizWest Media reporter Joshua Lindenstein and Innosphere’s communication director Emily Wilson to talk about tips for reaching news organizations and learn best practices on public relations that you can start implementing right away.

     Mike Winchell - Learning Rx

Every business faces a daily, weekly, monthly and annual series of problems to be solved combined with a desire to improve to be the best they can be. Solve these problems and make the right improvements and you can achieve more profits and live with less stress. It is the American Dream in action. But in the trenches, the small business owner is constantly playing their own personal role of Robert Irvine in Restaurant Impossible. It seems like an impossible role. Yet here you are, the star of your own reality show trying to get the most out of your own business and live the dream. In this workshop we will explore some models for problem solving and improvement. These models can be used as the beginning of your framework for your annual business review or to solve your current biggest problem, whether you are trying to get back on track or trying to take it to the next level. Clearly you are the star of your show. Let’s see if we can help you feel like the director too.

Meribeth Lunn - Employer Solutions Group

Healthy organizations are characterized by minimal politics and confusion, high levels of productivity, morale, and low turnover. They are whole, consistent, and unified in their management, operations, and culture.

How to Prep & Pitch Your Loan

Friday, May 13, 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016

12:00 - 1:00 PM

Presenter: Shannon Richardson - Community Banks of Colorado


Are you going to be seeking financing for your business? Whether it is an existing business or a brand new start-up, there are several things you need to know BEFORE you approach a lender. We're bringing in Shannon Richardson of Community Banks of Colorado to give you the rundown of what you need to know. Bring your lunch and join us to learn:

What Are Your Choices?
• Microloan, SBA, Conventional Bank Loan
• Overview and comparison of different loan types 

Preparing to Approach Your Lender
• Credit scores (FICO) and how to repair if needed 
• Understanding your financials-Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement
• What are the 5 C’s of Credit?
• What are the expectations for…Capital Injection (owner’s investment), Cash Flow (what is cash flow), Required Documents, Timeline (turnaround time) and Costs


This is a FREE event, but pre-registration is required




New Resources Abound at the Loveland Business Development Center (LBDC)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

 
by Mary Ann Huffines   
   

The Warehouse Business Accelerator was awarded the contract for small-business development services through the Loveland Chamber of Commerce at the beginning of 2016. The program that was in place prior to the new contract was the LCBD. The new program is the Loveland Business Development Center (LBDC). This was an intentional act to keep the name similar. The LCBD program began in 1991; Kelly Jones-Peters was a Director for the LCBD from February 2000 to May 2006. The Executive Director for the new LBDC program is Kelly Jones-Peters. Kelly has an in depth knowledge of how the center functions and brings a fresh approach to the center with her years of experience in economic development in Northern Colorado. 

The mission of the LBDC is to provide Loveland citizens and existing businesses with free one on one consulting services, sophisticated training seminars and street smart advisors in order to create a stronger more vibrant economy. 

The City of Loveland has funded the contract for small business development for 26 years. The name of the program has changed a few times…LCBD changed to Loveland SBDC, reverted back to the LCBD and is now the LBDC. The core offerings of the program have remained stable over the years. What is new and exciting about the LBDC program is the abundance of resources that are now offered to Loveland businesses.  This could only happen through a strong alignment with the Larimer SBDC program, the Loveland Chamber of Commerce and the Warehouse Business Accelerator. Loveland businesses can receive free counseling with business specialists or general counselors for routine business assistance. You can check out the talented consultants at: http://www.larimersbdc.org/about-us/consultants

To receive free counseling services, register at: www.LarimerSBDC.org. If you have any questions, please call (970) 667-4106.


Hiring, Connecting With, and Keeping Employees

Thursday, October 22, 2015

On October 20th, the Larimer SBDC held our second Small Business After Hours event targeted at the restaurant and food product industry. We pulled together a great panel covering a variety of restaurants and a food manufacturer to specifically address workforce issues faced in these industries.

       
Carolyn Reed
Silver Mine Subs Franchises
Ryan Houdek
The Melting Pot,
Rodizio Grill, Social
Mark Havens
Cafe Vino
Josh Skow
Canyon Bakehouse

Restaurants and food product companies face unique issues when it comes to workforce. Some restaurants, like the Silver Mine Subs franchises owned by Carolyn Reed, are looking for entry level employees. Others like The Melting Pot, Social, and Rodizio Grill owned by Ryan Houdek, or Café Vino which is managed by Mark Havens, are looking for experienced restaurant staff who match the culture of their establishments. For food product manufacturers like Canyon Bakehouse, CEO Josh Skow says finding someone whose character traits align with the company goals is most important. Regardless, they all face the same larger problems of hiring the right person that fits with their company values, overcoming generational issues, and employee retention. 

Hiring Processes

Harness Technology – Using a digital application process helps Carolyn efficiently sort through applicants. She sets the metrics on the program to give weight to people with prior restaurant experience.Interview Best Practices – Sometimes it’s easier to find out if they’re not a right fit. Ryan asks disqualifying questions during the interview; if a candidate is expecting to always make $300 per shift, they’re probably not a good fit for his restaurant.Company Culture as a Hiring Tool – All of our panelists agreed that they are looking for candidates that fit their company values and culture. If there is a mismatch in the beginning, it is likely to cause a variety of problems later.

Generational Issues

Millennials Are… Different – Between a difference in learning styles, work ethic and a need to like their boss, millennial present a new set of challenges for business owners with generationally diverse workforces.Communicating with Millennials is… Different – According to Carolyn, you need to set your expectations for millennial workers upfront and in a clear manner. When communicating and coaching them, you have to decide if you will take a less direct tone or if the employee is worth the time it may take to get them trained.
An Intergenerational Approach is…. Different – The need to like their boss presents a unique opportunity for millennials in intergenerational workforces. “We are the missing element in learning a work ethic,” says Ryan. At the Canyon Bakehouse, they have a shift that is managed by a baby boomer with mostly millennial workers. Giving the team well-communicated shared goals helps them work as a team.

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Employee Retention

Compensation is More than a Paycheck – Providing benefits like health insurance add to the value an employee gets from their paycheck. Café Vino also has a profit sharing program. Mark says this gives him an extra 35 bosses telling him how he can do it better, and it also helps employees feel vested and take ownership of the business.Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly – Normalize feedback and coaching processes and address issues quickly and casually. From the manager standpoint, always document even verbal warnings, and don’t be afraid of using write-ups as a second step. The kindest thing you can do for your employees is let them know what the issue is and how to correct it quickly and professionally.
Honor Employees on a Regular Basis – Say goodbye and thank you to employees every evening, keep gift cards for when you catch employees doing something right, celebrate employee milestones on a regular basis. Hire the right management, because they will properly train your employees and provide them the right encouragement.
Of course it is difficult to capture a panel discussion like this in a few hundred words, but we want to make sure to share these insights with you. Are you in this industry? We’re planning for 2016 right now, so send your feedback on possible topics to kat@larimersbdc.org!

We will be continuing with our Small Business After Hours series with a Health & Wellness Businesses “Funnel Vision” workshop coming up on November 10, 2015.

Doing Business with the Government

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Doing Business with the Government

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

9:00 am  - 11:00 am

Larimer County Building


Have you ever thought about government contracting but didn’t know where to start? Join us for an interactive workshop about what government agencies buy, how you can market your products and services to federal and state agencies, and where to find opportunities.  You’ll also learn about the small business certification programs that can help you get your foot in the door. 

The Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) will show you basics of getting started.  The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Connect2DOT Program Manager will tell you about working with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).  If you want to get a slice of the billion dollar pie, don’t miss this workshop!

Agenda:
9:00 - 10:00: Federal Government Contracting
Learn the steps for doing business with the government
Registering in SAM and using online marketing tools
Presented by Kathryn Rowe, PTAC
10:00 - 11:00: Doing Business with CDOT
What CDOT buys and the certifications that can get you in the door
Forecast of anticipated 2015 CDOT bid opportunities
Presented by Cathy Kramer, Connect2DOT
11:00-12:00: Networking and Consulting
Stay after to network with other small businesses and talk with the business counselors from PTAC and Connect2DOT about your business

This is a FREE event, but pre-registration is required! Save your seat today!