Two Events Aimed to Bridge the Gap between Small Businesses and Local Resources

Small business owners have a lot to manage – renting space, staffing, invoicing – the list goes on. At Energize Colorado, we want to create opportunities for small businesses to learn about all of the resources that exist to support them. Coming off of the Energize Community Program Gap Fund Loan Application period, we hosted two Small Business Resource Fairs aimed at connecting small business owners with small business support organizations that offer grants, loans, and educational programs to help small businesses succeed. 

The first event was held in Aurora at CEDs Finance, in collaboration with CEDS and the Secretary of State’s Business Intelligence Center (BIC). CEDs Finance recently moved into the old Citywide Bank building on East Colfax, adjacent to a community of Aurora small businesses, many owned by immigrants and refugees. Located in the heart of one of the Energize Community Program communities, the CEDS Finance location was inviting, warm, and a perfect venue for the event. 110 small businesses registered, and the event buzzed with the vibrancy of conversation. 

In Pueblo, the event was hosted at NeighborWorks, an organization that offers small business loans to meet needs of businesses that might not qualify for traditional loans. Working with trusted partners in the Pueblo community who co-sponsored the event – the Southern Colorado Economic Development District (SCEDD) and Southern Colorado Small Business Development Office – small business owners were able to access resources from seven organizations. 

Between the two events, approximately 165 small businesses registered to attend and receive resources. “The energy and vibrancy of the resource fairs reflected exactly what we aimed to do in hosting these events,” said Kanitha Heng Snow, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Marketing. “This was an opportunity for small business owners who were interested in our ECP program to also meet our partners who have programs that may be a good fit. Success to us looks like small businesses finding the right resource for them.”

Energize Colorado plans to host these resource fairs throughout the state to accompany future loan programs. Our organization’s strategy relies on pairing tools, training and resources with funding in order to help small businesses grow and become resilient. 

Thanks to all of our partners for their participation in these events!

Special thanks to Zin Zin’s Burmese Cuisine who catered the event at CEDS Finance. Chef Zin Zin also happened to sign a lease on a new physical location on the same day. Special thanks to Schlepp’s Sandwiches for catering the event at Neighborworks.

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