Fort Collins, Colo. – Clients of the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) recently took second place at the University of Northern Colorado’s Monfort Entrepreneurial Challenge. Branch Out Cider co-founders Matt Fater and Aaron Fodge were awarded $10,000, which they will put toward purchasing new equipment to grow the business. Branch Out Cider is a community orchard project that produces apple wine from trees in the backyards of Northern Colorado. The wine will be available for purchase beginning spring 2013.
Matt and Aaron were Fort Collins neighbors who noticed a plethora of apple trees—and fallen apples—in yards on their street. In 2007, they asked neighbors’ permission to collect apples from their yards, rented an apple press, and started making cider. In 2011, the pair brought their business plan to the SBDC and worked with SBDC counselor Arnie Culver.
The Monfort Entrepreneurial Challenge attracts entrepreneurs from across the Front Range. Participants submit business plans, and five finalists present their ideas in March to a panel of UNC representatives and area business people. 2012 marked the competition’s third year.
The Larimer SBDC provides high-quality, cost-effective assistance, information, and support to small businesses to foster their growth and development. Services include one-on-one business counseling, low-cost workshops on business-related topics, help in identifying potential financing, and help in networking with local, state, and federal resources. Learn more at www.larimersbdc.org, or contact the center at (970) 498-9295.
About Front Range Community College
FRCC offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, and Brighton, and online. FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System, the state’s largest system of higher education serving more than 151,000 students annually. CCCS oversees career and academic programs in the 13 community colleges in Colorado and career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and seven other post-secondary institutions.