We appreciate the African Leadership Group for providing the Colorado Minority Business Office the opportunity to create awareness about the services, resources and programs we have available for small, minority, women, and veteran-owned business community throughout Colorado.
Having a supportive atmosphere in which one can run a successful business is critical to sustaining an active entrepreneurial community. In addition to local and state support, businesses need to rely on development centers, accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces, networking opportunities, mentors, investors, and knowing the competitive landscape in order to “keep on our toes.”
We are here to help find that “teammate” needed to take on big contracts, and build the relationships always dreamed of. This pandemic has been challenging for businesses throughout the entire state and we understand how critical our support is during this time.
The Minority Business Office (MBO) of Colorado is dedicated to advancing business opportunities and relationships while being an advocate and information resource for businesses. We have an established network of public, private, and government resources that can be leveraged by businesses in every industry and of various sizes.
We also work the other side of the equation by providing information, tools and events that help government agencies and corporations find the right minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses to fit their exact needs.
We are located within the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, which provides us with fantastic exposure to work alongside other Colorado divisions with close contacts to other Colorado industries, businesses, and resources, such as Business Funding and Incentives, the Tourism Office, Outdoor Recreation, Film, Creative Industries, and Global Business Development, amongst other State agencies.
Our mission and goals are supported via MBO’s main programs. Below is a list for you to determine the best way to interact with our office:
MBO Pathway to Certification: Provides no-cost consulting for federal, state, local level certifications for minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses. MBO delivers ongoing webinars, trainings, and consulting through a variety of partners like the SistahPreneurs, Black Business Initiative, City of Commerce City, Mi Casa Resource Center, Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Contractors Academy, and of course the African Leadership Group.
Bid Advance Response: Is a six-month mentoring program that prepares minority, women and veteran-owned small companies to expand into government contracting at the federal, state, and local levels. The goal is to assist businesses navigate through the government procurement and contracting process, including relevant registrations, proposal preparation strategies and tools, personnel management, and other resources.
Leading Edge for International Opportunities: This program is a grant (up to $10,000) and training providing an educational pathway to equip minority-owned businesses with the tools and knowledge needed to develop a strategic plan to begin exporting. The program includes 48 hours of virtual training and annual membership with the World Trade Center Denver, 5+ hours of one-on-one virtual consulting with MBO and/or the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs).
Advance Colorado Procurement Expo (ACPE): An annual event providing multiple opportunities to small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses to engage with government agencies at the federal, state and local level. For the 2020 ACPE, due to the pandemic, we will offer a remote learning platform on “How to do Business with Government Agencies”.
Minority Business Directory: A searchable database for minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses throughout the state. Over 750 businesses have provided their information, including logo and company description. This is the best way to “find and be found” and is considered a bridge between government agencies and small and minority business community. Use the MBO Directory to create awareness about your business and add your business to this amazing list.
Throughout this pandemic, Colorado has acted quickly acted to secure federal funding. We created grants and loans that support diverse and rural businesses. One example is the Energize Colorado Gap Fund, consisting of $20 million from the federal Cares Act plus $5million from local philanthropists.
While open to all small businesses struggling to access essential capital, a priority is given to women, veterans, minority-owned, and rural businesses. Rural-area businesses are located in a county or municipality with a population of less than 50,000 people.
In addition, funds are available to businesses that did not receive other federal funding such as EIDL and PPP loans. The loans could have a maturity rate between 24 to 36 months. The interest rate is 0% during the initial four months with payment deferment options, 1% for the first 12 months, and 1.5% after 12 months.
Round two of Gap Fund submissions will run from October 5 at 6 a.m. through October 19 at 5 p.m. There will be more funds available in round two for small businesses. A valuable piece of advice to business owners is to avoid high-interest and immediate financing that further jeopardize their existence.
During these challenging times, we find our strengths. It is essential to find ways to use the business resources available, to help a neighbor, to volunteer with a community organization, and more importantly, to support local businesses, which includes buying online, or ordering takeout from local restaurants.
When we buy local over 70% of the money stays in the community directly supporting local jobs, businesses, and taxes that are used to improve local infrastructure, and improve the region’s economy as a whole. Most importantly, by using our creativity and unique perspectives we can support our local businesses during this trying time.
We hope to hear from you soon and further discuss ideas that support your business. The MBO is just an email or phone call away!