Buy in Denver, and support small businesses this holiday season
By Paul Washington, Executive Director of the Denver Office of Economic Development.
Small business is big business in Denver. It’s estimated that small businesses pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll, and here in the city, our local businesses with fewer than 25 employees comprise 80 percent of our total businesses.
As we make our holiday shopping lists and check them twice, consider the benefit of buying locally, and in turn, supporting our small business community. The city of Denver joins the U.S. Small Business Administration in recognizing today as Small Business Saturday. With the holiday shopping season kicking into high gear, now is the perfect time to support Denver’s small businesses and help boost our local economy.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock, with his administration and the Office of Economic Development, is working hard to help our small businesses thrive. Small business advocacy is a key element of our JumpStart 2012 strategic plan, launched in January this year, because we know what a critical role small businesses play in creating job opportunities and a stronger economy. What’s more, we are focused on providing small businesses with access to capital, labor and markets — three essential ingredients for a small business — throughout the year.
When it comes to business capital, Denver has a strong history of investing its federal community development dollars in gap financing for small business startups and expansions. This investment approach has sparked greater neighborhood revitalization in a number of areas, including Highlands Square, the South Broadway corridor, the Ballpark neighborhood and Santa Fe Drive, to name a few.
Finding additional sources of capital is now easier through our new Denver Capital Matrix, a directory of more than 250 sources of capital that have each invested in area businesses. This resource is designed to help raise awareness of the many types of capital available — from banks to venture capital, private equity firms and others.
The matrix is one piece of Mayor Hancock’s Peak Enterprise initiative, a business toolkit to help small businesses and local companies compete and succeed in Denver. We are also bringing more venture capital and investment to Denver’s innovators and entrepreneurs; opening a multimillion-dollar fund with micro- and traditional lenders to support local business and community development; offering an A-to-Z guide to help businesses navigate city paperwork and approvals; and improving customer service at our Business Assistance Center.
We know that a small business is only as strong as its workforce. Through our Denver Workforce Centers, the city helps our businesses with staff recruitment and training needs. By tapping into the state workforce development recruitment database, our staff saves employers time and money with their recruitment needs. From company-specific job fairs and on-site recruiting events to training subsidies, the centers connect employers to essential human resource services – at no cost to Denver small businesses.
The Denver Office of Economic Development is proud to support business development throughout the year. On Small Business Saturday, we are proud to give a shout out to our vibrant small business community and encourage residents to support your local merchants.
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