Opening Doors Blog

Boulder SBDC Launches Entrepreneurship Program for Teens

Monday, May 16, 2016


On Saturday, June 25, the Boulder Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Boulder Public Library, in a new collaboration, are hosting a free interactive learning opportunity for teens interested in entrepreneurship. 

“I believe that some of the greatest leaders emerge when they are still young - before the world tells them what they can't do, and before the expectations of fitting into the adult world are forced upon them.  Teens have the most amazing dreams!” says the Introduction to Entrepreneurship for Teens facilitator, Erin Lewis. 

Lewis was the youngest person and first woman to run a major railroad depot in the US, has worked on international business development deals worth over $500 Million for GE, and has been active in the startup community here in Colorado for the past 5 years, and wants to share her experience and expertise with the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Any teen interested in learning about entrepreneurship is encouraged to attend the event on June 25 from 10:00am until 4:00pm at the Boulder Public Library (lunch will be provided). Throughout the day, teens will hear stories from real life entrepreneurs about how they started their own business and discuss various paths the teens could take to start their own. Teens will work in teams throughout the day to walk through the process of manufacturing a product, creating plans, learning about product differentiation and market strategy with changing market conditions, and how to set a price for a product or service. 

In Lewis’ opinion, “I think teens are stuck between people that expect nothing of them, and people expect too much from them, but what they need more of is just exposure to ideas so they can chart their own destiny.  I've made more than my share of mistakes, and have come out the other end. Not having all the answers just means that you are brave enough to ask more questions.”

For more information and to register for this free event, click here


National Small Business Week in Colorado

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


A new website has been launched in honor of Colorado Small Business Week!

This website has been launched in honor of this year's Small Business Week for the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC), along with several small businesses, community organizations and financial institutions.The website is www.coloradosmallbizweek.com. It will be available for people in Colorado to find all events, workshops, webinars, and celebrations that will occur during that week in local communities. If you would like to add an event to the website, one that supports or provides training for small businesses, fill out the comment section on the website and include all the event information.

"Small Business Week highlights the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout Colorado," said Fiona Arnold, Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. "With over 560,000 small businesses in Colorado and half of our workforce employed by small businesses, this week will celebrate their critical contributions with workshops, events and festivities to celebrate Colorado's entrepreneurial spirit."

Since 1963, the president of the United States has declared a National Small Business Week to highlight the impact of small business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. This year the US Small Business Administration's National Small Business Week is May 1-7, 2016. 

Celebrate the week with Boulder SBDC by joining us for some workshops we are hosting!

Tuesday, May 3
2:00pm-4:00pm

Wednesday, May 4
5:30pm-7:30pm

Wednesday, May 4
6:00pm-8:00pm

SBIR Roundtable: Challenges of Getting Phase II and Commercialization
Thursday, May 5
8:00am-10:00am

You can join the conversation with the hashtags #ColoradoCollaborates and #DreamSmallBiz.





Colorado Small Business Week Winners Announced

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Image courtesy of the U.S. Small Business Administration

Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced this year’s Small Business Person of the Year winners from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All of the winners have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C on May 1-2 where they will be awarded their individual awards along with recognition of the runners-up and the naming of the 2016 National Small Business Person of the Year.  Reed Howard Silberman, Founder and CEO of Denver-based Ink Monstr, is the 2015 Colorado Small Business Person of the Year winner.


In making the announcement, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said: “It is my distinct pleasure and honor to announce the 54 winners from across the U.S. and her territories.  These small business owners represent the best of the best and showcase daily their entrepreneurial spirit and what it takes to be successful in today’s evolving and competitive business environment.”


The Colorado Winners include:


1.     Colorado Small Business Person of the Year winner is Reed Howard Silberman, Founder and CEO of Denver-based Ink Monstr.  Ink Monstr is a custom print shop specializing in interior design, wall and window wraps, branding, and web design.

 2.     Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Excellence and Innovation Center Award. Our colleagues at the Southern Colorado SBDC, based in Pueblo, are the winner of this award.  The center, and its director Caroline Trani, have played a vital role in helping entrepreneurs across Southern Colorado gain access to business training and counseling services.  The Southern Colorado SBDC was also named the Region VIII winner of this award.


3.     8(a) Graduate award of the Year Award. Richard Lewis, President and CEO, of Denver-based RTL Networks, Inc. RTL Networks, Inc. is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned (SDVOSB) company focused on maximizing customer technology systems and processes in order to meet immediate needs and long-term objectives. RTL Networks, Inc. was selected for this award because of his overall qualifications and expertise of their management, recognition of their special achievements and exceptional past performance record, their cost performance, innovative services and their economic engagement of disadvantaged communities.


 4.     Region VIII Administrator’s Small Business Advocacy Award.  Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and the Office of Economic Development, are the winners of this year’s award.  The mayor, and Office of Economic Development, have both played critical roles in promoting small business development with the establishment of the Commons on Champa, and their continued collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration on multiple programs and initiatives.

Congratulations to all of this year's winners!


This year, Denver was selected to host a national Small Business Week event on May 4.  SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet will be in Denver to participate in the day’s events. In the morning the SBA will host a Celebrating Women’s Business Forum at the Federal Reserve Bank Denver Branch office.  Following the women’s event, an awards celebration will be held at the History Colorado Museum where each of the Colorado Small Business Week winners will receive their awards; four new businesses will be inducted into the Colorado Small Business Wall of Fame; and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and Office of Economic Development, will receive the Regional Administrator’s Small Business Advocacy Award. Various events will be held across Colorado celebrating small business week.


Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week.  National Small Business Week is set as the first week in May, and this year the dates are May 1-7 with national events planned in Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and San Jose and Oakland, California.


In Boulder County, during National Small Business Week, we at the Boulder SBDC currently have a couple of workshops scheduled:

Wednesday,  May 4, 5:30 - 7:30 PM: Boot Camp de Planificación de Negocios Parte 1

We hope to see you that week!

THRIVE Conference February 27, 2016

Thursday, March 03, 2016


On Saturday, February 27, 2016, Boulder SBDC had the pleasure of helping coordinate and participate in the first bilingual THRIVE Conference at Front Range Community College in Longmont.  

The conference was aimed toward helping Boulder County residents with low to moderate incomes build assets. Topics included Homeownership, Social Action, Money Skills, Older Adults, Education, Business, and Health. The goal of the conference was to help make connections for a brighter future. Through workshops, interactive lunch discussions, and a resource fair, attendees set “Make It Happen” goals to take the next step in building a stronger future for themselves, their families and our community. 

We were able to offer two business-related workshops in Spanish and English. One included a panel of small business owners who talked through the challenges and successes they experienced starting their own business, resources that helped them, and advice for people just starting or thinking about starting a business.  Attendees asked lots of great questions and even gave some advice to others in the room from their own experiences. During the Spanish version of the panel presentation, participants were eager to learn from our Assistant Director, Mark Gittes, about importing from other countries, such as Mexico. Everyone seemed to gain something from the discussions. Thank you to Rocio Perez, CEO of Inventiva Consulting, Betty Artes of Casa Alvarez Foods and Mark Gittes, Assistant Director for the Boulder SBDC for sharing such great advice with aspiring entrepreneurs!

The second workshop we offered was How to Start & Correctly Operate a Small Business with SBDC Consultant Jesse Esparza. Jesse covered topics such as determining your target market and finding your competition as well as other key elements to starting a business. He also shared helpful resources for getting started. After the workshop, one attendee exclaimed, "This was exactly what I needed. Thank you so much for all of the great information!"

Other workshop topics throughout the day included financial empowerment (understanding the power of savings), how to pay medical bills on a limited income, healthy and local eating, social action (how to create positive social change), how to enroll in a university, powerful steps toward owning a home, and basics of Medicare. 

View photos of the event by clicking here!  

Thank you to the organizations that were a part of the steering committee!


·         Jamie Brandess, Marketing and Events Manager, Boulder Small Business Development Center

·         Rebecca Chavez, Director, Admission & Outreach, Front Range Community College

·         Nino Gallo, PIE/IDA Program Coordinator, Boulder County Community Action Programs

·         Cynthia Garcia, Bilingual Admission and Outreach Representative, Front Range Community College

·   Eliberto Mendoza, Boulder County Community Action Programs 

·         Katie Pague, Boulder County Housing & Financial Counseling Coordinator

·         Rosemary Thompson, PIE/IDA Coordinator, Foothills United Way

·         Lisa Widdekind, Emergency Management Coordinator, Boulder County Public Health

·         Katie Wade, Respite & Companion Volunteer Program Coordinator, Boulder County Area Aging Services


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