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Colorado Small Business Development Center announces winners of the 2015 LEADING EDGE Business Plan Business Plan Competition and Awards Ceremony

Tuesday, March 01, 2016
The Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, held the annual LEADING EDGE Business Plan Competition and Awards Ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday. The organization awarded the top businesses plans from across the state in the start-up, existing and creative business plan categories. Winners were:

Creative Business Plan of the Year sponsored by Colorado Creative Industries: Chris Fisher,, an online image printing business focused on enabling general consumers and small businesses with the ability to customize and print their images for the purpose of wall art décor

Startup Business Plan of the Year sponsored by Colorado Lending Source: Steve & Kim Duty, Cheese+Provisions, a cut-to-order cheese shop with an emphasis on American farmstand cheeses

Existing Business Plan of the Year sponsored by ACCION: John Bridenbaugh, Altitude Paddleboards, a family-owned stand up paddleboarding company located in Littleton stocked with high quality exposy and inflatable boards, fixed and adjustable standup boards, and accessories

The Colorado LEADING EDGE program offers strategic planning courses through the SBDC network for start-up and existing businesses throughout the state. The courses offer comprehensive training to small business owners, providing them with a better understanding the aspects necessary to successfully manage their business. The course consists of 10-12 training workshops and requires each participant to attend one-on-one business consulting sessions and complete a business plan. 
In 2015, through the assistance of the SBDC, graduates from the LEADING EDGE program created and/or retained 608 jobs, started 29 businesses, obtained over $1.6 million in loans, and were awarded over $3.5 million in contracts. This economic impact would not be possible without the continued support provided by the SBDC community, sponsors, partners, consultants, and volunteers. 

In addition to the graduates and business plan awardees, the Colorado SBDC Network recognized the Consultant of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Sponsor of the Year:

Consultant of the Year: Ron O’Herron, Pikes Peak SBDC

Volunteer of the Year: Alexis Lee, Southern Colorado SBDC

 Sponsor of the Year: Andrea Amonick, City of Aurora (host of the Aurora-South Metro Denver SBDC)
The event would not be possible without the support of generous LEADING EDGE sponsors. Food was provided in part by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. Beverages were provided by Left Hand Brewing, Tivoli Brewing, Red Leg Brewing, and Wild Women Wine. Cash awards for the top business plans were provided by Colorado Creative Industries, ACCION, and Colorado Lending Source. 

For more information about the Leading Edge program or the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network, visit or call 303-592-5920.

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