Eagle County hosts Small Business Development Center in Edwards
- Intro to SBDC Resources: March 5, 8-9:30 a.m., Colorado Workspace Community Room, Eagle Ranch.
- Women in Entrepreneurship: Growth Hacking, A University of Colorado Certificate Program: May 2-3, Grand View Community Room, Vail.
- Startup Essentials Roadmap: June 6, 5-7 p.m., Edwards Riverwalk.
- Business Plan in a Day: July 11, 5-7 p.m., Colorado Workspace Community Room, Eagle Ranch.
- Understanding Business Financials: Aug. 8, 5-7 p,m, Edwards Riverwalk.
EDWARDS — A lot of people have great ideas that might make good business sense. But getting started — or growing — can be hard. That’s where a Small Business Development Center can be helpful.
The Small Business Development Center is in the Vail Valley. The center, a joint project between the state of Colorado and local public and private agencies, is located (for now) on the second floor of the Slifer Designs Building in the Edwards Riverwalk neighborhood.
Lyndsey Brozyna has been the regional director of the Northwest Small Business Development Center, which operates in several counties in Northwest Colorado, since the summer of 2018. The center opened originally under the auspices of the now-closed Vail Centre. That organization provided an office and other support to the center. Other funding and support came from local business groups, Eagle County, the town of Vail and other public and private entities.
With the Vail Centre gone, Brozyna said an agreement is close with a new partner. That’s exciting, she said, because she’s working to make more people aware of the center and what it does.
According to the center’s mission statement, the Northwest Small Business Development Center “is dedicated to developing new and existing entrepreneurs resulting in an established future of work for our communities.”
To that end, the center offers services and free counseling for both new and existing small businesses. That confidential counseling can include business planning, helping small business owners prepare financial requests and other services.
“We intend to be a comprehensive solution for small business pain points,” Brozyna said.
Big solutions for small businesses
In 2018, Brozyna said the center helped small business owners generate $7.5 million in economic growth — including loans and business expansions. That growth supported more than 200 jobs.
Brozyna said economic growth in the area is crucial to weather whatever economic storms may hit the area. Businesses that aren’t tied to the resort economy can be particularly valuable.
“When we strengthen our economic base, we’re growing our communities,” she said.
The center’s services aren’t just for start-ups. Brozyna said that roughly two-thirds of the center’s clients are existing businesses.
But there’s plenty of help available for start-ups, thanks to a number of partnerships.
The center, along with help from the University of Colorado, the Colorado Minority Business Office, the town of Vail and other partners, in 2018 hosted a seminar for women business owners. In all, 53 people from Eagle County and six surrounding counties came to the seminar at Vail’s Grand View community room.
“The town of Vail was a crucial partner,” Brozyna said, helping provide the room and scholarships for the seminar.
Alison Wadey is the director of the Vail Chamber and Business Association. She’s also a member of Vail Commission on Special Events.
Wadey called the center “a wonderful resource. Their programming last year was very impactful for a lot of businesses.”
Based on the success of last year’s efforts, Wadey said the Commission on Special Events agreed to fund more programs this year.
“I was very impressed with her,” Wadey said of Brozyna’s presentation to the commission. “The programs will be a real benefit.”
Wadey said the development center can be a help to business owners in Vail and elsewhere in the valley, adding that she’s been reaching out to business owners about some of the education and consultation that’s available.
There are other business-development groups, and Wadey said all are helpful.
“All these things put together start to create a positive atmosphere for businesses to start,” Wadey said.
In Edwards, Brozyna said she’s eager to help entrepreneurs around the valley.
“We want people to know we’re here for them, whether it’s a new business or an opportunity for growth,” Brozyna said. “Help in making that idea a viable, lucrative business is why we’re here.”
Jon Asper flashes a million-watt smile as he empties a clip on the machine gun some friends helped him fire at a local gun range.