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.”
Twitter is filled with suggestions about motivating young people to vote this year, but the Centennial State is way ahead of that idea, thanks to Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Inspire Colorado.
Over the last three years, Inspire Colorado has worked with schools across the state in a student-led movement to register classmates to vote or get those already registered to pledge to vote. So far Inspire Colorado has signed up more than 7,000 students.
Williams — who got his start in politics in high school — believes it is so important for young people to be involved he established the Eliza Pickrell Routt Award, which the offices hands out to high schools where more than 85 percent of the senior class has registered to vote.
“We would not be where we are today in the state of Colorado without the wonderful support of the Secretary of State’s office and Secretary Williams,” said Ryan Drysdale, regional manager for Inspire Colorado.
Drysdale, Williams and Roxane White, the former chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper, were among the speakers at a fundraiser Monday night in Denver to benefit Inspire Colorado, a nonpartisan organization that works with students, teachers and school administrators to talk to classes about the importance of civic engagement.
“I have to say that Inspire Colorado has become my top charity,” White said. “I’m concerned about the growing inequality in America and the growing anger in America and the feeling that we can’t make a difference.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a former brewpub owner, twice mentioned “beer” when he delivered his eighth and final State of the State Thursday.
The term-limited governor has mentioned beer in at least six of his eight State of the State speeches.
The first reference this year to beer came when the governor talked about “topophilia.”
“It’s our love of place, and reflects our love of Colorado,” Hickenlooper told the 100 lawmakers and others in the packed House chamber.
“It’s the growling of tractors in Brush’s Fourth of July parade. It’s the smell of barbecue at the little league ball fields in Sterling on a summer night. If you’ve seen a sunrise over the plains, drank a cold beer after a day of hunting, or consider ‘Rocktober’ a real month, you’ve experienced it.”
He also talked how in ancient Greece, discussions about hot topics took place over large dinners and lasted days. There was no “cable TV debate or tweet storm,” different viewpoints emerged and people “invested their time in each other, often fueled by wine.”
“Here in Colorado, we’ll stick with beer,” he said, drawing a friendly protest from Rep. Edie Hooten, a Boulder Democrat who likes her wine.
Hickenlooper also said “giddy up” twice on Thursday. That refers to a story he tells often, with someone asking about the opposite of the kind of “woe” that means sorrow and distress and getting the cheerful answer “Giddy up!”
Two years ago, Hickenlooper published his memoir, “The Opposite of Woe: My life in Beer and Politics.”
He ended his State of the State by saying, “Thank you for your partnership, your friendship, and for deepening our love of this wonderful, wild place. One last time from this podium: Giddy up!”
For 33 years now, Colorado’s business, civil and political leaders have worked together to make Denver Rustlers the guardian angel of both the Colorado State Fair and the rural kids who show their animals at the event.
The Rustlers boarded three large buses today and headed south to Pueblo, where its pool of money will be used to bid on sheep, cattle and more during the Junior Livestock Sale.
“It’s one of my favorite events,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who works in Denver and commutes from Colorado Springs. “It’s always nice to get outside of the metro area and visit the rest of the state.”
The event begins in Greenwood Village with an early lunch at Del Frisco’s (home of the most incredible mini corn dogs you will ever eat).
It attracts current and former governors (John Hickenlooper and Bill Ritter, respectively), current and former agricultural commissioners (Don Brown and Don Ament, respectively); members of Congress and the General Assembly, county commissioners, city council members and more.
One of the best things about late August is back-to-back activities at the Colorado State Fair.
Friday night it was the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce barbecue, which draws lobbyists and legislators, the governor and cabinet members, local school board and city council members and more.
“I love the legislative barbecue each year,” said Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo. “It’s an awesome experience to be able to showcase all that I’m so very proud of in Southern Colorado.
“The chamber never ceases to amaze me at how it draws a who’s who in Colorado to the fair that I love,” she added.
On Tuesday, attention switches to the Denver Rustlers, a group that raises money to buy livestock from kids showing animals at the State Fair. Members of the bipartisan organization board buses in the metro area and head to the fair for the day.
“Best philanthropic day of the year,” is how Matthew Leebove, Mountain States senior campaign executive at Jewish National Fund, referred to the Rustlers’ rendezvous.
“The highlight for was the Centennial Farm awards,” said Sen. Larry Crowder, referring to the program started under former Gov. Dick Lamm in 1986.
“And everyone was on their best at the legislative barbecue!”