Energize Colorado Invests $5.7M into Communities Across Colorado
Business owners in East Colfax, Southwest Denver, Pueblo County and the Child Care industry can now apply for the latest round of the Gap Fund loans through the Energize Community Program (ECP). ECP has three components to the program: 1. Previously completed funding readiness workshops; 2. low-interest Gap Fund loans up to $20k; and 3. a community accelerator program valued at $1,200. ECP was designed in collaboration with community leaders, and partners are involved in the design and delivery of the program.
Launched in April, the funding readiness workshops showcased available loan products from Energize Colorado and our partners, and provided education around the financial documentation required for loans. The workshops, coupled with access to free business advising, were designed to provide loan applicants with maximum support before submitting loan applications. More than 500 small business owners have accessed the workshops to date.
Through ECP, Energize Colorado will deploy $5.7 million in low-interest loans directly to business owners for needs that include debt consolidation, capital improvements, payroll, rent, utilities, working capital, equipment, and inventory.
Additionally, business owners who receive loan funding will also be eligible for the Energize Community Accelerator – a 14-week intensive designed to increase business resiliency and long-term growth in these underserved communities. Programming was designed based on a Small Business Resiliency Index (SBRI), which measures a business owner’s ability to regain their footing and build resilience for the future. Accelerator participants will take a pre-and post-SBRI assessment.
Since the launch of the Gap Fund in May 2020, Energize Colorado has partnered with OEDIT, CHFA, and the State’s network of CDFI’s and Regional Loan Funds. These strong partnerships allowed Energize Colorado to deliver $43M to date on behalf of State partners to small businesses who needed financial relief. Energize Colorado will expand its capability by delivering ECP capital through a revolving loan fund.
“We have listened and learned from small business owners and community partners that businesses are continuing to struggle. With rising inflation and limited access to new capital, we built ECP to address these concerns directly. In tandem with our accelerator program, we’re working with recipients to ensure the money is deployed to drive growth and resilience,” said Wendy Lea, Co-Founder and CEO of Energize Colorado. “We believe that small business resiliency is improved when capital is integrated with technical assistance, and our ECP model brings these two together.”
Business owners in the four targeted ECP areas (East Colfax, Southwest Denver, Pueblo County, and the Child Care industry) with 25 employees or less are eligible for the ECP Gap Fund loans. These communities were selected through extensive outreach, an evaluation of small business needs, and of business support infrastructure to create solid partnerships and deploy funds.
“You can have the capital and spend it on your business, but managing the capital and knowing where to spend it to improve, to sustain, and continue running your business successfully is very important too. I think that’s where the accelerator comes in very handy.”Aseel Shehadeh, co-owner of Famous Buffalo Wings and Things located on East Colfax
To apply for the loan, please visit: energizecolorado.com/ecp. Loan applications are scheduled to close on July 14th, 2022.
About Energize Colorado
Energize Colorado is a nonprofit organization that aims to advance resilience and promote equity across Colorado’s small business ecosystem. We are builders and innovators focused on serving Colorado’s smallest and most underserved businesses across four priority groups: BIPOC, women, veterans, and rural. Learn more about our programs, our mission, and our partners at www.energize colorado.com.