Two Years in the Making

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March 23 marks Energize Colorado’s Second Anniversary and is proclaimed Energize Colorado Day by Gov. Jared Polis. 

Society as a whole has experienced the rollercoaster of events since March 2020, but at Energize Colorado, we are proud of all the progress we have made towards building Colorado’s small business ecosystem. We are pleased to announce that Gov. Jared Polis has officially proclaimed March 23 Energize Colorado Day!

In our team’s two-year retrospective, we were struck by how much of our impact as a new public-private partnership has been guided by the guidance, feedback, and support of our partners. With their help, we’re proud of the resiliency we’ve brought to Colorado small businesses over the last two years and know we’ll all continue to rise to the challenge as economic conditions shift.

Additionally, it is impressive to note that Energize Colorado has benefited from the time, energy, and expertise of nearly 600 volunteers over the past two years. These volunteers are the leaders that bring our projects to life and truly make an impact in our ecosystem. 

Finally, we also would not be here today without our leader and CEO, Wendy Lea. Wendy leads with intention and leverages her global network of entrepreneurs to catalyze economic resilience in Colorado. 

It’s nearly impossible to capture all of the progress made since Energize Colorado’s inception, but here are a few highlights: 

  • Energize Colorado has served more than 10,000 businesses through our programs and initiatives 
  • Ten child care centers received grants and programming to support their financial and digital innovation built in collaboration with the Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance. 
  • With support from experts across business, public health, innovation, and data science, we created the Small Business Resiliency Index (SBRI) that assesses and predicts the resilience of small businesses within Colorado in response to COVID-19.
  • Over 1,000 women-owned businesses across the state have connected and supported one another through our Facebook community.
  • We launched Energize Colorado’s Virtual Hub powered by Startup Space. This is a new community-driven platform and support system for small businesses, which includes a resource compass.
  • We have connected over 500 business advisors with local-business owners to support their growth.
  • Since 2020 the Gap Fund has received 10,000 grant applications and deployed nearly $50M directly to small businesses in the form of grants and low-interest loans. Throughout 2022 we will be deploying an additional $21M in further capital through our Energize Community Program (ECP).

In year three, ECP is our key focus. ECP prepares small business owners to successfully apply for loan and grant capital. ECP includes funding readiness workshops, low-interest Gap Fund loans up to $20k, and an accelerator program valued at $1,200. This round of Gap Fund loans is available to small businesses across four communities: East Colfax, Pueblo County, Southwest Denver, and Child Care providers. 

The Gap Fund loan applications will open May 2 and close May 20. To be eligible to receive the loans, business-owners must attend the Small Business Funding Opportunities Workshop. The ECP Accelerator brings together small business owners in a community cohort model to meaningfully support business owners in reaching their goals. Valued at $1,200, the accelerator is available to ECP Gap Fund loan recipients. In addition, small-businesses participating in the accelerator program will use the SBRI to assess and predict their resiliency. 

It’s going to be our most productive year yet and we are grateful to play this distinct role in Colorado’s ecosystem of builders, organizers, nonprofits, and industry partners. 

Whether you are a current volunteer, past volunteer, local entrepreneur, business advisor or partner, we are grateful for your continued support!

To learn more about ECP visit our website.

To volunteer with us visit our volunteer page.

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