The Small Business Development Center in Fort Collins helped local companies get $24.5 million in funding last year.

Local businesses and their employees needed more support than ever during the pandemic in 2020—and the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) helped more than 1,200 area entrepreneurs weather the COVID storm. The Larimer team provided consulting for more local companies than any other SBDC in Colorado last year.

“Last year was very challenging. COVID disrupted businesses and employees—from both a public health and a financial standpoint,” said Jean Runyon, vice president of Front Range Community College’s Larimer campus. (The Larimer SBDC is hosted and sponsored by FRCC.) “I’m always exceedingly proud of the SBDC, and want to thank the team for giving virtual support and assistance to so many local entrepreneurs”.

“These results are a credit to our many consultants and instructors who helped our entrepreneurs through choppy waters,” said Mike OConnell, senior director of the Larimer SBDC. The center offers free, one-on-one consulting and guidance to businesses in Larimer County. They also conducted 75 low-cost business education classes for more than 1,100 attendees over the last year.

Helping Businesses Get Financial Assistance

With so many businesses struggling during COVID, OConnell’s team started a new funding resource group, which helped business owners navigate the complicated options for recovery loans and grants. The SBDC helped companies apply for a wide variety of federal, state and local assistance—especially the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

Keeping People Employed, Protecting Paychecks

“Our work here helped Larimer County businesses obtain $24.5 million in funding, which was number one in the state,” added OConnell. “This helped local businesses stay afloat, allowing them to continue employing area workers.”

Additionally, the Larimer SBDC helped clients increase their sales by $26.2 million last year, which was also the highest in the state. The team helped clients create and retain more than 800 jobs (ranking #2 in the state). They also helped 24 new businesses get started (#3 in the state).

Who the SBDC Assists

“We’re proud of who we help,” said OConnell. “Many of our clients aren’t able to engage in more traditional business education. 62% of our clients are women, 14% are minority business owners, and 5% are veterans.”

The Larimer SBDC works in collaboration with the Loveland Business Development Center, as well as several other strategic partners and dedicated sponsors to provide street-smart business education and connections to useful resources for Larimer County entrepreneurs.

For additional information, visit our website: www.larimersbdc.org or call us at 970-204-8600.  

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About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, 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 138,000 students annually at 13 colleges and 39 locations across Colorado. Our open access mission ensures all Coloradans who aspire to enrich their lives have access to quality higher education opportunities.

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