FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Leaders from Diverse Industries Across the State Partner to Launch Energize Colorado
Nonprofit will provide free resources, education, and tools for small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals affected by COVID-19
Denver, CO — May 1, 2020 – Today, a group of spirited innovators officially launched Energize Colorado, connecting Colorado’s diverse business community, nonprofit leaders, and contingent workforce with the best of the state’s resources, programs, and people to address challenges created by COVID-19 and spur transformative economic growth. Leveraging their strengths as operators, deep passion for the State of Colorado, and a strong sense of urgency, the organization is committed to building an inclusive movement that scales the best ideas and develops new ones where they are needed.
Energize Colorado is an action-oriented, grassroots organization, designed to help people, businesses, and nonprofits first stabilize and then rebuild and grow. Some of its initial work has included listening sessions with contingent workers and setting up a fund to aid small businesses. The organization is distinct from the Governor’s Emergency Council for Economic Stabilization and Growth (GECESG), which works to explore the full scope of economic impacts of COVID-19 in Colorado and make recommendations at every level of government to mitigate the uncertainty faced by workers, employers, their families, and communities.
In addition to Energize Colorado’s own tangible efforts, the organization offers monthly recommendations on issues affecting small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals to the GECESG via Brad Feld, founder of Foundry Group and national innovation leader, who serves as Vice-Chair for the GECESG and as Chair of Energize Colorado. Feld recruited Wendy Lea, entrepreneur and executive, to serve as Chief Executive Officer. Under the leadership of Feld and Lea, more than 200 volunteers have joined together to execute the first iteration of Energize Colorado.
“Every sector of the economy has been impacted by COVID-19,” said Lea. “Our goal at Energize Colorado is to create a collaboration between the individuals and organizations statewide who are actively serving their communities. From there, we will lead conversations about how we can innovate and find solutions that drive new growth and address gaps in our economy, whether a lack of broadband access in our rural communities or support for female business owners.”
Energize Colorado helps its communities navigate existing information regarding Federal, State and City programs and resources. In addition, the organization creates and launches new programs to support a quick recovery and set conditions for medium and long term growth. To ensure comprehensive impact, the team has recruited proven leaders with specific expertise across seven different segments of our economy:
- Rural Small Business: Marc Nager
- Nonprofit Small Business: Renny Fagan
- Entrepreneurs: Erik Mitisek
- Front Range Small Business: Abram Sloss
- Women & Minority Small Business: Eric Drummond
- Contingent Workforce: David Secunda
- Manufacturing: Noel Ginsburg
Erik Mitisek, President of early-stage company Highwing and former Chief Innovation Officer for the State of Colorado, has been overseeing the development of EnergizeColorado.com, saying that “The most powerful resource we have to recover and thrive as a State is Coloradans helping Coloradans. By using innovation, grit, and compassion, we’ll build community systems and programs to collectively bring Colorado business back to full, vibrant health, together.”
In this first phase of its work Energize Colorado will launch three programs — Mentorship, led by Jesus Salazar, Mental Wellness, led by Chris Erickson, and the Energize Colorado Gap Fund, led by Marc Nager, which will make small loans available to those small businesses and individuals who could not qualify or did not receive PPP funding or other federal stimulus funds. More detail about these initiatives will be provided in the coming days and weeks.
Energize Colorado held a kickoff Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) this morning featuring Lea, Feld, and Bonnie Watson, a representative of the Rural Business segment with key constituents of their communities. Following the community-first model, constituents were given first access to the organization’s leadership and encouraged to provide their feedback. Energize Colorado plans to continue these AMAs & Listening Sessions; visit EnergizeColorado.com for a schedule of upcoming events or to get involved.
Energize Colorado is a group of spirited innovators — Coloradans helping Coloradans, collaborating with our diverse business community, nonprofit leaders, and contingent workforce to find short term relief, navigate recovery, and ultimately rebuild our organizations to return Colorado to the most vibrant economy in America. Learn more by visiting EnergizeColorado.com
Contact: [email protected]