The Small Manufacturer’s AdvantEDGE program—a first of its kind business assistance program—has been selected as a nationwide best practice. The program was singled out among economic development programs by the Manufacturing Extension Partnership—the manufacturing assistance arm of the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST).

The AdvantEDGE program connects small manufacturing companies with industry experts who provide coaching, consultation, and/or training. The type of coaching and training assistance includes business strategy, advanced marketing analysis, operational excellence, export gap assessment and compliance, quality systems and certifications, facility layouts, new product development, supply chain management and market diversification.

“This program has made a huge impact on the small manufactures it has assisted,” said Glenn Plagens, director of the North Metro Small Business Development Center. “It’s a great example of one of the many ways FRCC supports the local economy and the community.”

The program is a collaborative effort of the Colorado Manufacturer’s Edge, the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, World Trade Center Denver and the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade. SBDC is supported by—and housed at—Front Range Community College’s Westminster campus.

“As the host of the SBDC, we have a direct connection to the small business community in our area,” said Cathy Pellish, vice president of FRCC’s Westminster campus. “This gives us a window into what the high-priority workforce development and training needs are.”

The Small Manufacturing AdvantEDGE program was seed funded with a $300,000 Advanced Industry Infrastructure grant awarded by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. To date, the program has had over 170 applicants, 100 of which were awarded some form of assistance. Economic impact recorded to date includes over $9,194,500 in capital formation, $2,807,071 in company sales increases, and 96 new jobs created around Colorado.

How does a company qualify for the SMA program?

  • Is the company a manufacturer?
  • Is the company located in Colorado?
  • Does the company have fewer than 20 full-time employees?
  • Can the company demonstrate support and commitment to implementing recommendations in order to maximize results and improve your business?
  • Is the company willing and able to report impact data to Manufacturer’s Edge and SBDC?

How to get started

If a company meets the above requirements, the next step is to apply. Once the application is received, company representatives meet with staff members from Manufacturer’s Edge and SBDC to discuss the business’ needs.

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About Manufacturer’s Edge

The official representative of the MEP National Network in Colorado. Manufacturer’s Edge encourages the strength and competitiveness of Colorado Manufacturers through coaching, training, and consulting, collaboration-focused industry programs, and by leveraging government, university and economic development partnerships.

About Colorado Small Business Development Center Network

The Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is dedicated to helping existing and new businesses grow and prosper in Colorado by providing free and confidential consulting and no-or low-cost training programs. The SBDC is the premier, trusted choice of Colorado businesses for consulting, training and resources. The SBDC Network combines the resources of federal, state and local organizations with those of the educational system and the private sector to meet the specialized and complex needs of the small business community.

About World Trade Center Denver

The World Trade Center is the premier international business resource in the Rocky Mountain region.  Leveraging the skills and knowledge of our membership, our public and private sector partners and our global network of World Trade Centers, they provide comprehensive international trade services and key global contacts to facilitate and expand trade and international business throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

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.

About the Colorado Community College System

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is the state’s largest system of higher education, serving more than 137,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. CCCS’s open access mission ensures that all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities. CCCS students save time and money with affordable tuition and fees, concurrent enrollment and guaranteed transfer to any public university in Colorado. Online courses are available via Colorado Community Colleges Online. CCCS also oversees career and technical programs in its 13 colleges, more than 160 school districts and 6 other post-secondary institutions. By partnering with business and industry, CCCS helps employers meet workforce needs and prepares students for direct entry to their chosen career pathway. The vast majority of CCCS students are Colorado residents and, after graduation, 97% of CCCS students stay in state becoming the workforce that powers the Colorado economy and the heart of its neighborhoods, businesses and communities.

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