Secretary Williams champions small business ventures for veterans

The Colorado Small Business Development Center Network hosted its 11th annual veterans small business conference in Colorado Springs Thursday. From left to right; Dan Nordberg, regional administrator of Regional VIII with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Aikta Marcoulier, director of the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center, Allie Coetzee Leslie,  deputy administrator with the SBA, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and Kelly Manning, state director  of the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network. (SOS photo)

The Colorado Small Business Development Center Network hosted its 11th annual veterans small business conference in Colorado Springs today, aimed at helping veteran entrepreneurs who are looking to start or grow a business.

Secretary Wayne Williams emphasized that Colorado is one of the best states in the country to start a business when he spoke to the small business development center. Many business filing options are available online and Colorado is the only state to offer free online business certification.

Williams also announced that the  Secretary of State’s office plans to update the business registry system later this year.

“The current system is nearly 14 years old and in need of modernization,” he said. “Our system processes more than 850,000 filings per year and is accessed millions of times a year. This is a priority for my office and will position us for further growth and ensure we remain responsive to our citizens’ needs.”

Colorado Secretary of State staffers Michael Watkins and Abbas Montoya, who work for Business & Licensing Division, man a booth at a business event aimed at veterans. (SOS photo)

Colorado currently has 691,476 businesses in good standing, which is nearly 55,000 more than last year, according to the most recent Quarterly Business & Economic Indicators Report.

The secretary was introduced by Aikta Marcoulier, director of the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center, who pointed out that Williams is the Colorado secretary of state to earn the nationally recognized Certified Elections/Registration Administrator designation. She also noted that Williams lives in Colorado Springs and served as the El Paso County clerk and recorder before being elected to statewide office in 2014.

Williams was joined at the event by business SOS staffers Abbas Montoya and Michael Watkins, who manned the Secretary of State’s booth. They helped to educate people who were starting a small business in Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams addresses the Colorado Small Business Development Center Thursday in Colorado Springs.(Transworld Business Advisors)

“The booth was busy all day,” Watkins said. “We showed people how to start a business, how to properly file periodic reports and even helped someone convert a business from Utah to Colorado.”

That person remarked he couldn’t believe how much easier and cheaper it was to start a business in Colorado, a sentiment echoed throughout the day.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office will work with Nordberg and the regional SBA office to celebrate National Small Business Week from April 29 through May 5.  Last year, Williams met with the 2017 Colorado Small Business Person of the Year, Argentinian native Lorena Cantarovici, owner of Maria Empanada.