There has never been a better time to be a small business owner in Denver, Colorado. According to a recent study by NerdWallet, Denver was rated the number two city in a list of most entrepreneurial states based on venture capital funding, SBA loans, and online loans per 100,000 people. So if you’re about to launch (or have recently launched) a business in the Denver area, you’re in good company.
Why do small businesses do so well in this community? One obvious reason is that entrepreneurs have access to extensive resources to assist them while they grow. We’ve put together a list of both local and national organizations that support small business and help them succeed. While the list is by no means exhaustive, it should provide you with some great resources to get started as well as introduce you to communities where you can plug in for mentorship and guidance.
Small Business Resources in Denver, Colorado:
Colorado Small Business Development Center
Colorado Small Business Development Center (CSBDC) offers free one-on-one counseling to entrepreneurs. They pull resources from the local, state, and federal government to help business owners navigate the launch and growth of their companies. Check out their free classes and learn useful skills like how to write your business plan, find your ideal customer, and more.
SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business
SCORE Denver is a non-profit resource partner of the Small Business Administration. They provide free mentoring services as well as inexpensive training events. Their volunteers are usually retired entrepreneurs who will partner with you and provide guidance on everything from refining your sales and marketing strategy to choosing financing options.
The Commons on Champa
The Commons on Champa is much more than an awesome, high-tech coworking space. It’s a public campus for entrepreneurship and a place where innovators come to share ideas, network and push each other forward. They host frequent panels, networking events and workshops where business owners can come to learn from those who have walked the startup path before them. They also offer open advisory hours throughout the week.
Rockies Venture Club
The Rockies Venture Club (RVC) is a local Angel group of that pairs entrepreneurs with investors. Their educational programs can help you think through challenges like valuation, due diligence, term sheets, and your exit strategy. RVC also hosts events where entrepreneurs and investors can meet, mingle, and work to get companies the funding they need.
Colorado Innovation Network
Launched by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in 2011, the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) is a physical and virtual network of global leaders driving innovation. COIN publishes a yearly innovation report providing business owners with data-driven insight into the economic climate in our community. Be sure to check out their interactive map to learn about upcoming opportunities, events, and courses they offer.
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) provides licensing information and assistance to business owners. They also post updates to recent legislation that impacts local entrepreneurs in every sector.
BeVisible is an online community, career network and social platform for Latinx entrepreneurs. It made our list because not only is it a great place for entrepreneurs to plug in, but also because their founders, Andrea Guendelman and Silvia Travesani, are members of the Denver community. The organization frequently hosts networking events right in our own backyard.
Mi Casa Resource Center
The Mi Casa Resource Center is one of Colorado’s oldest and largest Latino-serving nonprofit organizations. They provide career development, business development, and entrepreneurial advancement resources to the community. Mi Casa also organizes workshops and offers individual business counseling services.
The Center’s LGBT Young Professional’s Group
The LGBT Young Professional’s Group provides resources to students and professionals under 35. Their events help community members improve their skills in networking, client development, leadership and more. They also invite entrepreneurs from the community to come share their personal experiences building, launching, and scaling their companies.
Denver Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
The Denver Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (DGLCC) is an active entrepreneurial community that hosts weekly networking breakfasts where LGBT and LGBT-supportive businesses are invited to knowledge-share and build relationships. Every week an appointed chamber member presents their company to the group and receives feedback. DGLCC also partners with other community organizations on monthly events and a has a wealth of educational materials. They host a Chamber 101 seminar so members can learn how to make the most of their membership.
Women Who Startup
Women Who Startup (WWS) is a platform for women innovators, technologists, developers, educators, and entrepreneurs that grew from humble roots right here in Denver, Colorado to a nation-wide community with over 2,000 members. Basecamp events happen all over the country and our local chapter meets once a month for an hour of networking followed by a spotlight feature of a local, female entrepreneur who shares her insights on what it takes to be successful as a business owner. There are a number of ways to plug into this active community including their Slack channel and podcast.
The Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce
The Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) is one of the largest chambers in the nation. It opened in 1988 and was also the first chamber of commerce to focus on creating a community the promotes and supports women in business. They offer a number of programs for women entrepreneurs and host several events a week.
In addition to all these awesome organizations, make sure you read through the Colorado Business Resources Guide. It’s a comprehensive tool that will walk you through many of the processes, challenges, and strategies associated with owning and operating a business. Know and love a tool or community we didn’t mention? Please share in the comments section below!