CONTACT: Lindy Eichenbaum Lent
email@example.comMayor Hickenlooper Launches Business Assistance Center
(DENVER) Making good on another campaign promise, Mayor John Hickenlooper presided over the official grand opening Thursday of the Denver Business Assistance Center (BAC). Located on the ground floor of the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building, 201. W. Colfax, the Denver Business Assistance Center and its concierge service will provide a one-stop shop for small businesses to get help with local, state and federal licensing, permits and regulations. The BAC will also serve as a clearinghouse for business-related mentoring, marketing and financing resources in the community as well as provide technical assistance to businesses seeking city services.
“Healthy, expanding small businesses are a fundamental part of strong, sustainable and prosperous communities, but starting and growing a small business can be very challenging,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper, who announced the creation of the Business Assistance Center in his July 2004 State of the City Address. “Many entrepreneurs have a great business idea, but little or no experience in starting a business, such as obtaining the necessary government approvals or finding private resources to assist them. That’s where the Business Assistance Center can help.”
The Denver Business Assistance Center is a joint project of the City and County of Denver, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Colorado Secretary of State and Department of Revenue, and the Downtown Denver Partnership. Each partner is dedicated to supporting and cultivating the growth of Denver’s small businesses by providing help completing government forms, obtaining permits and complying with local, state and federal regulations. Small businesses can also be referred to consulting and educational resources provided by other organizations.
According to the SBA, small businesses, including women- and minority-owned businesses, employ more than 51% of the of the private work force, generate more than 52% of the nation’s gross domestic product, and are the principal source of new jobs in our economy. Over 80% of Denver’s businesses have fewer than 20 employees.
“Helping small businesses succeed in Denver is crucial to creating more jobs and strengthening our local economy,” said Hickenlooper. “If our economy is going to grow, then efforts like this to support small businesses and entrepreneurs are vital. This initiative wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated work of the City’s economic development team or the support of our local, state and federal partners.”
The BAC is located inside the Webb Building because of the proximity to other city services, its central location, the ability to use existing economic development staff, and the fact that no additional rent is required. The BAC is open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Free two-hour parking at the Adam’s Mark Hotel garage will be provided to BAC patrons compliments of the Downtown Denver Partnership.
BUSINESS ASSISTANCE CENTER:
The Business Assistance Center will be a one-stop-shop for government forms and a referral center for private and non-profit resources for starting and growing small businesses. Through the BAC, one may:
- Register with the Secretary of State’s office;
- Apply for and receive a federal tax identification number;
- Apply for and receive a Denver business license;
- Apply for and receive Denver and Colorado sales tax licenses;
- Register for Denver’s occupational privilege tax;
- Make sales, occupational privilege or business personal property tax payments;
- Apply for and receive a Denver contractor’s license;
- Register for any necessary Denver inspections (restaurant, child care, etc.);
- Apply for city financial assistance, including loans or enterprise zone credits;
- View open bids, RFPs and RFQs offered by Denver, and obtain copies of all forms required to submit the required documents;
- Obtain assistance with Denver planning and public works permits;
- View zoning information; and
- View real estate information (from Assessor’s records).
In addition to these core functions, the BAC will refer businesses to existing business assistance service providers and will serve as an entry point to the Office of Economic Development’s (OED) new concierge service.
Overview of Business Assistance Center
From April to June 2004, Denver’s Office of Economic Development (OED) conducted a business retention survey with over 350 local businesses in targeted industries. The Business Assistance Center and its Concierge Service was a key recommendation from the survey participants, many of whom expressed a need for “concierge” to help guide businesses through the labyrinth of city services.
To address this need, the BAC staff will put interested businesses in touch with an OED staff member that can act as their personal concierge in the city bureaucracy. Over 30 core OED staff members have been identified and cross-trained to provide this service. Exhibit 2 (below) illustrates the challenges of the current process and Exhibit 3 illustrates the operations of the concierge service.
Mayoral appointees in the Office of Economic Development, such as Director John Huggins, Deputy Director Myrna Hipp, Small Business Opportunity Director Tamela Lee, Business Development Director Mary Buckley, Housing and Neighborhood Services Director Jacky Morales-Ferrand, and Workforce Development Director Cec Ortiz, will rotate with 24 additional OED staff members in serving as concierges.
Current Process for Businesses Interacting With the City and County of Denver
Denver Concierge Service
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