Small Biz Development Center opens in Summit County
As I make my way around the region, I’m frequently asked the question “What is a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and what do you do?” SBDC’s are a collaboration of federal, state, and local governments as well as the education system and the private sector. SBDC’s combine information and resources from these various stakeholders to help meet the needs of the small business community.There are 15 SBDC’s located throughout the state that work together as a network. Most are hosted by colleges and others by chambers of commerce around the state. Ours is hosted by Colorado Mountain College – Summit Campus in the Dillon location. The territory stretches from Summit County to Aspen, then north to the state line.Bringing an SBDC to Summit County was a huge undertaking and great example of community cooperation. June Walters, program director of the Northwest Loan Fund, an important program of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, and Alton Scales, CEO of CMC-Summit Campus identified opportunities to better serve the business needs in our mountain communities. Gary Severson, the executive director of NWCCOG has long recognized the importance of economic sustainability in the overall health of our mountain communities. Examples of NWCCOG projects directly related to economic sustainability include the I-70 Coalition, the Bark Beetle Cooperative, and the Second Home Study. NWCCOG’s support was crucial in bringing the SBDC to Colorado Mountain College.The Northwest Loan Fund specializes in financing start-up and young, expanding small businesses unable to obtain conventional funding. June advocated for a local SBDC with the State Office of Economic Development and International Trade to assist loan applicants with developing good business plans, a critical step in any loan application.The SBDC offers free business counseling to current and prospective small business owners on all aspects of business planning and operations. In addition to counseling, we will be organizing seminars and workshops to cover educational needs identified by key stakeholders including members of the public and private sectors. I’ll be working with our chambers and economic development groups to prioritize topics to be covered in these low-cost sessions.If you have suggestions for specific topics you’d like to see addressed in this column as well as in seminars and workshops, please be sure to let me know. I’ve heard from several business owners over the years that they wish additional training was available locally. It is our mission to address that need the best way possible.We are in the process now of recruiting experienced volunteers to assist us with providing their expertise for those needing specialized assistance. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Jack Taylor at 970-468-5989 X2802 or by email at email@example.com.Jack Taylor has worked and resided in Summit County for 20 years and is the director of the Small Business Development Center hosted by Colorado Mountain College at the Dillon Campus.
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