A major barrier to entry for startup businesses is funding. While it is important to work through long-term, sustainable, funding strategies with a business consultant, there are some new grant and loan programs from the Office of Economic Development and International Trade to help startups become established. Read on to learn about two funding programs to see if they are the right fit for your business.
1. Business Foundations Technical Assistance Program
Grants! The word every entrepreneur wants to hear. The Business Foundations Technical Assistance Program (BFP) is a training program offered through the Minority Business Office to any Colorado-based business in the startup phase. The program provides technical assistance in three pathways:
- Legal Formation and Registration
- Accounting and Finance
- Digital Marketing and E-commerce
Once you complete the online training modules for each pathway you can apply for a grant to receive reimbursement for eligible expenses you incurred during the technical assistance training, up to $1,200. You can see a list of eligible expenses and the process for registering for the program here. Registration is currently open for this program and grant applications will be accepted for the first 400 eligible businesses to apply.
2. Colorado Startup Loan Fund
The Colorado Startup Loan Fund is a partnership between the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and mission-driven lenders, providing micro-loans under $150,000 to small businesses needing capital to start, restart, or restructure their business. The fund is set up as a revolving loan fund, meaning money that is repaid to a loan will go back into the fund to support other entrepreneurs needing nontraditional access to capital. A total of $31.5 million is available through the fund. The fund prioritizes loan opportunities for:
- Existing businesses that are unable to qualify for traditional financing
- New businesses that are unable to qualify for traditional financing
- Existing businesses who experienced financial losses or other impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic that may inhibit them in obtaining capital through traditional sources
- Increasing capital for underserved communities
Funds in this program are provided through nonprofit lenders and community development financial institutions (CDFI’s). According to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, “These lenders have been selected for their abilities to work with business owners who are located in rural areas, may not be native English-speakers, have never carried a loan, lack the traditional assets required to secure financing, or have been previously unable to obtain a loan.”
Find a list of participating lenders, eligibility requirements, and FAQs here.
Where To Get Help
Securing funding can infuse new energy into your business, but we do encourage you to seek funding, especially loans, wisely. You may want to talk with a business consultant to understand your financial situation before taking on any debt. The good news is you have plenty of support to understand how each of these programs could benefit your business. The Minority Business Office holds free office hours through Zoom on Thursdays at 4:00 to answer questions about the BFP and you can schedule an appointment with an SBDC consultant for support in preparing your application for the Startup Loan Fund.