Copper Mountain Resort hosts fourth annual Women’s Small Business Conference |

Copper Mountain Resort hosts fourth annual Women’s Small Business Conference

Attendees at last year's Women's Small Business Conference heard from keynote speaker Karyn Ruth White, comedian and entrepreneur. This year will feature Roxane White, chief of staff to Governor John Hickenlooper.
Courtesy of Lindsey Stapay / Northwest Colorado SBDC |

While social network Twitter has been criticized recently for having zero women on its board, Summit County women are leading the way in business development.

The Colorado Small Business Development Center Network will host the fourth annual Women’s Small Business Conference from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17 at the Copper Mountain Resort Conference Center.

The event features training sessions, one-on-one consulting and networking opportunities. Workshops include discussions on financing, community marketing, retirement and leadership, as well as panels on balancing life and work.

Marie Orlin, Mountain High Web Design owner, is attending the conference for the first time this year and said she was most looking forward to the opportunity to network.

“It will be really good to see other women in business throughout the county, to find out what works for them and what doesn’t,” she said.

Orlin said she wanted to attend the workshops on marketing, which she said would be really useful to grow her organization.

“I want to get my name out on the community,” she said. “I can always use more guidance in developing.”

Hundreds of women will be in attendance at the conference, which features Roxane White, chief of staff to Governor John Hickenlooper, as the luncheon keynote speaker. After facing many unexpected turns in her life, including starting her career as a single mom, White said she is looking forward to talking to the women at the conference.

“So often women step back and say it’s not the right time,” she said. “But women can help each other, learn from each other, work with men and women equally and share their stories.”

White will also talk about two of her favorite female authors who have written books on success in the business world.

“I believe work is play with a purpose,” she said. “Life is not always a linear path but it goes in a beautiful path anyway.”

Women of the Summit subsidized some of the attendance fees to give their membership a lower ticket price and allow them access to a networking event.

The conference is also the result of a joint partnership of Grand County Economic Development, Grand County Creative Coalition and the Town of Breckenridge Arts District, said Lindsey Stapay of the Northwest Colorado Small Business Development Council.

Nicole Guidi, Book by Owner president, went to last year’s conference and is signed up to attend this year’s as well.

“We’re a small community and there are a lot of good recourses for people,” she said. “I like to go and be supportive. I like the fact that it’s focused on women.”

Celtic Bank, Connect 2 Dot, Denver Water, Colorado Mountain College, Microsoft and the Summit Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the event. Other exhibitors include ACCION, Colorado Lending Source, Ecofiber Custom Rugs, FranNet Colorado, Health Links Colorado, Edward Jones, Mobloggy, Public Services Credit Union and the University of Colorado Procurement Service Center.

Katie Knoll, Denver Water manager of government and stakeholder relations, is attending the conference and said her company provides different opportunities to minority and women-owned businesses in Colorado, such as landscaping, IT, engineering and other contracting options.

“I want to reach out and let small businesses, women-owned business, about the opportunities we offer,” she said. “I’m excited to branch out to Summit County and reach more broadly around the state.”

This conference is offered annually in Summit County, with the goal to increase the sustainability and success of women-owned businesses in the region. The purpose of the event is to give female entrepreneurs new skills and insight in strategic planning, organizational processes, connectivity and marketing.

“I can always walk away with something new,” Guidi said. “More things like this need to come here.”

In a prepared statement, Kelly Manning, Colorado SBDC state director, said women currently start businesses at more than twice the rate of their male counterparts.

“But [women] often face additional challenges in securing financing and managing work-life balance,” she said. “By providing women entrepreneurs consulting and resources in financing, marketing, operations and strategic planning, the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network works to increase the success of those women-owned businesses and help the entrepreneurs access a collaborative network of support.”

The Women’s Small Business Conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17 at the Copper Mountain Resort Conference Center, 209 10 Mile Cir. Registration is $55 and more information is available at

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