Greetings, entrepreneurs and friends!


As we eagerly anticipate the arrival of National Small Business Week from April 28 to May 4, we are delighted to once again join forces with our esteemed partners, the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and the Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation, to present an exceptional lineup of events celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit in our community.


This year, under the theme of A.I. (Action and Innovation), we are excited to offer a week filled with opportunities for learning, networking, and celebration. Here's what you can expect:


🏆 Awards Ceremony Kickoff: Our week begins on April 29 at Boot Barn Hall with a prestigious awards ceremony recognizing the remarkable achievements of small businesses in our region.


💡 Virtual Panel Discussion: Dive into insightful conversations on Tuesday with our virtual panel, featuring industry experts sharing actionable insights and innovative strategies for small business success.


🚀 Marketing Panel with 1 Million Cups: Join us on Wednesday for a dynamic marketing panel in collaboration with 1 Million Cups, where you'll gain valuable insights into cutting-edge marketing techniques and trends.


👂 Small Business Listening Tour: On Thursday, connect with Mayor Yemi and fellow entrepreneurs during our Small Business Listening Tour stop, offering you the chance to engage in meaningful dialogue and foster community connections.


🤝 Networking Opportunity: Close out the week with a networking event Friday afternoon, designed to encourage collaboration, the exchange of ideas, and relationship building among small business owners and professionals.


Our collaboration with the BBB of Southern Colorado and the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC has long been a cornerstone of our commitment to supporting small businesses in our community. Together, we aim to empower entrepreneurs with the resources, knowledge, and connections they need to thrive.


As we come together to celebrate Small Business Week, let's embrace the spirit of "Action and Innovation," inspiring one another to take bold steps towards our entrepreneurial goals.


Warm regards,


Brandon, Lauren, Shaula, Nina, Omarr & Doni

Chamber Networking Breakfast

Tri-Lakes Chamber & EDC

Apr. 4, 7:30 am

@ Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce

Networking Breakfast

Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 5, 7:00 am

@ IHOP

First Friday

Southern Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 5, 7:30 am

@ Colorado Technical University

Young Professionals Coffee Meetup

Southern Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 8, 10:00 am

@ Mandy Penn Photography

Next Level Management & Consulting Digital Marketing Series

Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 10, 5:00 pm

On Google Meet

Colorado Springs Business Expo & Market

Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 11, 5:00 pm

@ Ute Pass Cultural Center

Annual Awards Dinner

Tri-Lakes Chamber & EDC

Apr. 12, 6:00 pm

@ Marriott Colorado Springs

Business Lunch

Southern Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 16, 11:00 am

@ Garden of the Gods Resort & Club

Business After Hours

Tri-Lakes Chamber & EDC

Apr. 16, 5:00 pm

@ Lolley's Tasting Room

Chamber Business After Hours

Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 16, 5:30 pm

@ Woodland Professional Building

Self Care for Business Professionals

Tri-Lakes Chamber & EDC

Apr. 17, 11:30 am

@ Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Networking Breakfast

Tri-Lakes Chamber & EDC

Apr. 18, 7:30 am

@ Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce

Business After Hours: Chambers of El Paso County

Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC

Apr. 18, 5:00 pm

@ TBD

Networking Breakfast

Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 19, 7:00 am

@ IHOP

Business Luncheon

Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 23, 11:30 am

@ The Pinery North

2024 Spring MAC Hail and Farewell

Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC

Apr. 23, 5:00 pm

@ Marriott Colorado Springs

2024 Women of Distinction

Southern Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 24, 5:30 pm

@ DoubleTree by Hilton

Sunset Meet & Greet

Southern Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce

Apr. 25, 5:00 pm

@ TBD

Bad Rock Auto is a locally-owned, small town auto repair shop and used car sales dealer nestled in the foothills of Pike Peak. Owner Todd Basnett has been involved with the SBDC for one year. He began attending entrepreneurship classes in March of 2023, completing a 9-week course. After this course, he fulfilled a long-time goal of purchasing his own auto repair shop in January of 2024.

More than 20 years ago, Todd starting his automotive career washing cars for a local new car dealership while attending college in West Virginia. After switching gears and following his interest in the automotive business, Todd became the youngest Harley-Davidson service manager in the country. Many years followed sharing time with Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep and GMC/Buick/Pontiac and finally at a Ford dealership in Colorado. After helping an independent auto shop thrive, Todd thought it was time for him to take charge of his own shop.

Bad Rock Auto caters to our small community, from in town to as far as the last ranch in the county. Opening 20 years ago, the shop has been a staple for locals and travelers far and wide when visiting our beautiful Rocky Mountains. Bad Rock Auto is also a member of the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce, educational philanthropist, and local volunteer.


WebsiteFacebook

Kim Stewart is a business and leadership coach and consultant, dedicated to supporting nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and leaders. Kim has a passion for the nonprofit sector, spending over 30-years as an organizational leader serving agencies of all sizes. In 2020, she decided to expand her reach and shift to supporting the nonprofit sector through consulting and coaching. By switching from staff (with one organization) to serving multiple agencies, Kim has been able to expand the impact she has on her community. With the belief that nonprofit organizations can save the world, she helps those that are struggling to fulfill their mission and purpose.


Additionally, Kim spent 15-years developing wellness coach programming and training coaches. The initiative has helped thousands of people through behavior change and creating healthy lifestyles that are right for them. These skills have translated smoothly to coaching leaders as they run their business, lead their staff, and balance their own lives.


Today Kim offers a wide variety of coaching, consulting, and facilitation services. Her ultimate goal is to help leaders get their organization/business to a place where the mission/vision, values, goals, and every single staff person is aligned and moving in the same direction. By simplifying, aligning, and calming the chaos, leaders find more time to focus on what’s important to them.


Q: Can you share a recent success story where you've helped a small business overcome a significant challenge? What strategies did you employ, and what were the outcomes?

A: I get a lot of people who are trying to determine whether it makes more sense to start a nonprofit or a for-profit business. I recently met with a man considering starting a nonprofit supporting older folks with their technology needs. At first, I was thinking that his plan should be a for-profit business, but after hearing his vision for helping others it became clear that this could be a really unique organization with tremendous impact. His next step is to create his business plan and think more about products, delivery, and funding streams. 


Q: What key factors should entrepreneurs consider when developing a business plan? Could you highlight some elements that are often overlooked but can have a big impact? 

A: In the nonprofit sector, people tend to leave the development of their board up to chance. In reality, this is a very important component of starting and running a nonprofit organization. Not getting this piece right can make or break an agency. Just as much thought should go into planning the board as goes into other aspects of building a business.


Q: Funding and financial management can be daunting for small business owners. What are some practical tips you provide to help them secure funding and manage their finances efficiently?

A: When it comes to nonprofit organizations, often some or all of the funding comes from donations. Funders do not donate to a cause unless they know and understand it. The biggest advice I give to young organizations about funding is to get the word out about their work. I call it "friend-raising". It can happen through any sort of marketing and networking, but raising awareness is key to any fundraising. Incidentally, this is where a board can come in handy. It multiplies the number of voices and storytellers spreading the word about your work. 


Q: Could you share some insights into how you guide entrepreneurs through the process of identifying and targeting their ideal customer base? 

A: With a nonprofit, I ask three key questions: 1) what is the critical social issue that you want to address? 2) What piece of that problem are you going to own and address better than anyone else? 3) What is your unique solution to the problem? An agency needs to be clear about these questions before they can start talking about their target customer. Additionally, with a nonprofit, the target customer isn't just the people consuming the product. It can also be the funders, volunteers, and other partners. 


Q: Networking and building partnerships can play a significant role in business growth. What advice do you have for small business owners looking to expand their professional network? 

A: Think about who should or could care about the cause that you are addressing. And go to them. They will be your best donors and funders.


Q: Could you share a piece of advice that you find yourself giving to entrepreneurs time and time again? Something that's universally valuable for anyone starting or running a small business? 

A: Do your research! Create a thoughtful business plan. Run it by a few people who you know will be thoughtfully honest with you. Starting a business or a nonprofit is hard work. You want to know your plan is solid and you're getting into it for the right reasons. 


Q: Any recent hobby discoveries you'd like to share? 

A: Riding gravel on my fat bike


Q: A book that's had a lasting impact on your work? 

A: Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott


Interested in a no-cost consulting meeting with Kim? Click here.

Backing Small Businesses | Due Apr. 7

In partnership with American Express, the Backing Small Businesses grant program supports economically vulnerable and under-resourced small businesses with community reach. This year, eligible small business owners can apply for $10,000 grants for projects that grow or improve their businesses by building community, supporting their economic viability, or bolstering meaningful change. To be eligible, the business must be in a "bricks-and-mortar" location and operate in an older or historic main street, downtown, or commercial district in the US; have 20 or less full-time employees and be in operation on or before January 1, 2023.

Comcast RISE Grant Program Announcement | April 9

Join Comcast for a special announcement for small businesses in the Colorado Springs - El Paso area at the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC. Networking begins at 1:45 pm with the program an announcement starting at 2:00 pm. Max attendance is 100 people so RSVPs are required here.

Fresh Food Access for All | Due Apr. 19

This grant targets Latino small businesses, startups, and community-serving organizations across the country which are addressing food insecurity in their communities by increasing access to healthy and affordable food. 

The Halstead Grant | Due May 1

The Halstead Grant is an annual award for emerging silver jewelry artists. Applicants submit answers to 15 business questions in addition to their design portfolios. The experience is designed to help jewelry entrepreneurs create a strategy to kick-start their careers. The grand prize is a $7,500 cash grant plus other benefits.

Small Business Marketing Grant | Rolling

This program provides SEO and website evaluations for black-owned or minority-owned (BIPOC) businesses who would want to improve their existing website. 

SPARK Loan Increases to $15,000

The SPARK loan is designed for business owners who want to test a new idea and build a credit history. SPARK now has a maximum loan amount of $15,000 (previously $5,000) and a streamlined underwriting and closing process. 

Startup Colorado Community Funding | Rolling 

Startup Colorado prioritizes the funding of projects, initiatives and events that prioritize collaboration, inclusiveness, accessibility, and community support. The maximum award is $2,500. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, decisions will be made at the end of each month.

HerRise MicroGrant | Rolling

The HerRise Micro-Grant provides financial assistance to women of color creating innovative solutions that impact their community and that are often unable to secure funding for their small business. Apply for the HerRise MicroGrant by sharing your business pitch and plan in the application.

Grants for Single Moms | Rolling

The Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant has one goal: Give a hand to single moms struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness and loneliness. Every month, they grant $500 to a single mom, no strings attached.

Manufacturer’s Edge Small Manufacturing Recovery Grants | Rolling

Manufacturer’s Edge is an organization that provides onsite support, strategy, planning, training, and technical assistance to manufacturers across Colorado. The SMRG’s purpose is to help fund costs of consultative services for manufacturers. 

The Well Work x Justworks - Just Thrive Program | Rolling

Up to $6,000 credit to existing businesses that have at least 50% ownership by marginalized founder

Small Business Marketing Grant | Rolling

SEO and website evaluations for black-owned or minority-owned (BIPOC) businesses who would want to improve their existing website

U.S. Senator Hickenlooper's Federal Grants Support

Senator Hickenlooper is working hard to ensure that Colorado continues to receive its fair share of these federal investments, and his office is eager to serve as a resource for more information, answer additional questions, and assist with your application.

Another great resource is this Grant & Funding Database from our partners at the East Colorado SBDC.


Questions about these grants? Please reach out to Ginelle Curcincita, owner of OroMar Consulting, where she positions entrepreneurs to confidently bring in the money!

Edison Apps, LLC, led by Brandon Lee, is a digital agency specializing in crafting modern solutions for small businesses. With a passion for problem-solving, they offer services in web and app development, digital marketing, automations, business process optimization, and business analytics. Their goal is to enhance productivity, increase sales, and improve customer experiences. With more than seven years of experience, Edison Apps has successfully completed more than 150 projects, helping small businesses across the United States achieve their marketing and operational objectives.

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