SBA touts Colorado’s amazing small business success stories

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, left, and Dan Nordberg, right, the regional director of the U.S. Small Business Administration Region VIII, with the winners of the Colorado Small Business Persons of the Year award, Margot Langstaff and Elisa Hamill with LifeHealth in Littleton. The Colorado-based company provides a range of clinical health services. (SOS photo)

Check out these Small Business Administration loan success stories in Colorado: Otter Box, Chipolte, Snooze, New Belgium Brewing and more.

At an awards ceremony Wednesday in Centennial,  Dan Nordberg, regional director of the SBA’s District VIII, emphasized the impact of small businesses and the SBA in the state.

“Over the last 64 years more than 70,000 Colorado companies have financed their American dream using the SBA’s funding programs,” he said.

The ceremony was part of National Small Business Week, which includes local business events and workshops throughout the state. In addition, each state hands out awards and some recipients are honored at an event in Washington, D.C.

“It was heartwarming to see the successs of these great businesses.  More than a million Coloradans work for the more than 600,000 Colorado small businesses,” noted Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. “Our office works hard to provide common sense easy filings for every business and nonprofit across the state.”

A Fort Carson battalion won an award from the Small Business Administration. From left to right, Rod Cameron, deputy director of the Mission & Installation Contracting Command Fort Carson, Lt. Col. Thomas McFall, division chief Amy Williams, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams (no relation) and Sgt. Major Sol Nevarezberrios, at the ceremony Thursday in Centennial.

Recipients and their staffs were recognized at the SBA ceremony.

Nordberg, who lives in Colorado Springs, presented the Regional VIII Small Business Advocate of the Year award to a neighbor — Fort Carson’s Mission and Installation Contracting Command & 918th Contracting Battalion.

The award is presented to an individual or organization that assists entrepreneurs through advocacy and other efforts that raise the profile, effectiveness, health, vitality, growth and expansion of small business in the region.

“Small businesses face many hurdles when contacting with the federal government,” Nordberg said. “This group at Fort Carson has attempted to make this process less difficult and more user friendly.”

Of the 563 small business eligible contract awards released from the battalion in the fiscal year 2017, a whopping 73 percent went to small businesses. In addition, almost half of those contracts were to disadvantaged business.

Annie Larson, from U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s office, and Aurora Ogg, from Congressman Mike Coffman’s office, at the Small Business Administration’s award ceremony in Centennial Wednesday. (SOS photo)

“That is an incredible feat, and they deserve to be recognized today,” said Nordberg, who presented the award to Lt. Colonel Thomas McFall, director of Fort Carson’s MICC-FC.

The Small Business Development Center Excellence & Innovation Award went to the Boulder SBDC, which pulled off a hat trick, winning the Region VIII and national award in that category. The Colorado SBA office’s deputy district director, Josh Vigil, presented the award to Boulder DBDC director Sharon King.

“Her staff members, colleagues, community members and small business owners she has supported will speak of her kindness; her unwavering vision to see the Center’s aspiring entrepreneurs and emerging businesses achieve their,” Vigil said.

Also, the founders of Snooze were inducted into the Colorado Wall of Fame. The award goes to a business owner who has utilized some type of SBA assistance. Nineteen years ago, the Colorado office handed out the first wall award to John Hickenlooper, then the owner of Wynkoop Brewery and now the governor.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Dan Nordberg, the Regional VIII director of the Small Business Administration, and Frances Padilla, director of the Colorado U.S. SBA district office. (SOS photo)

SBA lender-relationship specialist David Benavides presented the award to Jon and Adam Schlegel, whose first breakfast eatery was at the corner of Park Avenue West and Larimer in what had been a brothel and a high-end disco. It was touch-and-go for the brothers at first and they hosted Bar Mitzvahs and holiday parties to help pay the rent.

Then the concept took off, Benavidez said.

“With the assistance of Preferred Lending Partners and CoBiz Bank the first seven Snoozes were all opened with SBA 504 Loans, which all have been paid in full!” he said.

Snooze is opening its 25th location this month.