Program to offer help recruiting entrepreneurs

Applications will be accepted through July 1 for a new program offering help to rural communities in recruiting entepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurs can be the driving force in a local economy, especially ones that have been hit by large company closures and reclocations,” said Kelly Manning, director of the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network. “Entrepreneurs create jobs, invest in infrastructure and assist communities in competing in a regional, national and global economy.”

The Colorado Small Business Development Center Network has launched the Certified Small Business Community Program.

The program will assist rural communities with up to $10,000 in coaching, mentoring and technical assistance to develop an plan to recruit and retain entrepreneurs. In addition, communities will receive up to $30,000 to complete items in their plans, which may include creating a Small Business Development Center or satellite office, creating co-working spaces or completing other projects that promote entrepreneurship.

Selected communities may also receive highway signs designed and installed with assistance from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“By the end of the program, selected communities will have developed a clear strategic growth plan and action plan to diversify its local or regional economy through the promotion of entrepreneurship,” Manning said. “The designation as a Certified Small Business Community will allow the recipients to promote their community as a great place to work, live and play in Colorado.”

Applicants can be a single town or city, several towns or communities working together or a county. Interested communities must demonstrate a defined sense of place or niche that sets them apart, have a concentration of entrepreneurship, a high level of community engagement and support of small businesses and the ability to execute the plan.

Interested communities should contact the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade to discuss eligibility prior to applying.

For additional information about the Certified Small Business Community Program contact Christine Hoffman at (720) 391-8865 or christine.hoffman@state.co.us. Applications are available online at choosecolorado.com.