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.”

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Go Code mentor weekend kicks off at Google

The Google Boulder campus, the host of Go Code Colorado’s 2018 mentor weekend. (Go Code photo)

Go Code Colorado‘s fifth annual mentor weekend kicked off last Friday at the new Google campus in Boulder.

Go Code is a statewide business app challenge housed in the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. The award-winning challenge is the first and only statewide effort of its kind that uses public data to solve business problems. It is overseen by staffer Andrew Cole.

This year’s finalist apps focus on housing development, food trucks, childcare and transportation.

Andrew Cole explaining the 2018 “Go Code challenge coin” to the crowd on Friday. (Go Code photo)

Cole thanked the teams for helping to make public data in Colorado more accessible. He then handed out a “2018 Go Code challenge coin,” similar to challenge coins that military members receive upon finishing boot camp. He explained that the story goes if a military member is caught without his coin, drinks are on that person.

Mentor weekend provides an opportunity for all 10 teams to receive mentorship by leaders from Boom Town AcceleratorCA TechnologiesGoogleHouse of GeniusTwitter and other minds from Colorado’s tech and entrepreneurial community.

This years competition kicked off Feb. 7 in Denver. In attendance were Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his predecessor, Scott Gessler, who was in office when the Go Code Colorado challenge began, as well as various SOS staffers and Colorado lawmakers.

The challenge weekend began April 13 in five cities statewide: Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Grand Junction and Fort Collins. Two teams from each location were named finalists, awarded $2,500 each and headed to Boulder for mentor weekend April 27-29.

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Delta County welcomes Wayne Williams

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and four election judges at the Delta County clerk’s office on Monday. The judges are, left to right, Debbie Cole, Laura Earley, Susie Johnson and Judy Briscoe. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams always gets rave reviews about Dominion Voting Systems, the firm he selected to provide voting equipment to counties statewide, but during his visit to Delta County on Monday he heard a first:

The system is so fast, so efficient, that the work of checking in ballots and checking for signatures gets done in a much shorter period of time.

Delta County Clerk Teri Stephenson and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams Monday at her office in Delta. (SOS photo)

“That means we don’t get to spend as much time together,” election judge Debbie Cole told Williams when he stopped by the Delta County Clerk and Recorder’s office to visit with Clerk Teri Stephenson and her staff.

At that lament, Williams let out a huge laugh. He told the judges he had never heard that one before.

Stephenson said the election judges told her afterward how surprised they were that the secretary of state “was such a down-to-earth, normal guy.”

“And we always brag on our election judges so it was great that Wayne got to meet some of them,” she said. “They are just an awesome group and they get along so well.”

Election supervisor Rene Loy said the volunteer election judges who showed up Tuesday were bummed they missed a visit by the secretary of state.

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Colorado raffle drawings offer big dreams, help nonprofit licensees

Children’s Hospital dream home in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood of Denver. (Photo courtesy of Children’s Hospital Colorado)

Each year the Colorado Secretary of State’s office issues hundreds of raffle licenses.

And three nonprofit licensees — The Boys and Girls Cub of Metro Denver, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Colorado — offer a dream home as the grand prize.

Raffle tickets for the three nonprofit licensees range from $100 to $150.

The Boys and Girls Club offers a safe place for children by providing after-school programs, a meal, help with homework, or whatever else a child may need. A membership is only $2 annually for a child, thanks to fundraising events such as the “Dream House Raffle.” The slogan is “Your chance to win is their ticket to thrive.”

The grand prize this year is a 9,500-square foot house in the Stapleton/Lowry area.

The winner is offered the option to forgo the house and take $2 million in cash instead. Shannon Bee, the Secretary of State’s office’s bingo & raffle supervisor, said Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver has been doing successful house raffles since 1995.

The Boys and Girls Club four-bedroom, seven-bathroom dream home in the Stapleton-Lowry area. (Photo courtesy of Boys and Girls Club)

Children’s Hospital of Colorado does not offer a cash option but it does cover the cost of one year of taxes on their dream home as well as some of their other top prizes.

Children’s Hospital Colorado is the leading center for children’s health in their seven-state region. Children’s pioneers new methods of treatment and care made possible through fundraisers such as the mighty millions raffle.

In addition to dream homes, prizes such as cars, vacations, gadgets and various other items are raffled off.  The dream home offered this year is in Denver’s Bonnie Brae neighborhood.

St. Jude also conducts dream home raffles in Colorado among other states. The nonprofit licensee offers two homes in Colorado this year, one in the Denver area and one in the Colorado Springs area.

For St. Jude, it’s a win-win situation. Winners receive their dream home and are helping to end childhood cancer. St. Jude research hospital offers their services to patients and their families free of charge thanks to donations and raffles like the Dream Home giveaway.

SOS staffer faces long recovery after SUV driver hits his bicycle

Brad Lang, a staffer with the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, has been out of work since the driver of an SUV hit his bicycle. The beard is new as Lang can't shave himself. (Photo by Meg Lang)
Brad Lang, a staffer with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, has been out of work since the driver of an SUV hit his bicycle. The beard is new as Lang can’t shave himself. (Photo by Meg Lang)

By Julia Sunny

A bike helmet saved Brad Lang’s life.

The Colorado Secretary of State employee bikes to work on most summer days. On July 28, as he was pedaling westbound in the bike lane on East 23rd Avenue, a white SUV turning from 23rd on to Colorado Boulevard made a left-hand turn and plowed into Lang, who went flying and was knocked unconscious.

When Lang regained consciousness, the 37-year-old was in the emergency room at Denver Health Medical Center. He sustained multiple injuries, including a displaced and broken finger, a severely dislocated and broken elbow, two broken wrists, and a hairline fracture in one of his knees. He underwent surgery and spent 2½-days in the hospital.

“I feel very fortunate that my brain is in one piece and that I’m alive,” Lang said.

The impact was so strong it cracked his helmet in half but doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

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