Mayor Michael B. Hancock appointed Chris Martinez as Director of the Division of Small Business Opportunity, tasked with driving a proactive agenda to make Denver the Start-up and Small Business Capital of the country by helping grow existing and new businesses from the ground up.
“Chris is a proven leader with extensive expertise in financial services, a strong sales aptitude and the drive to deliver the highest quality customer service in the City,” Mayor Hancock said. “Denver is working diligently to become the most business friendly City in the country and Chris will help lead this charge.”
Martinez joins an all-star economic development team selected to refocus and reenergize the City’s Office of Economic Development (“OED”), led by Executive Director of OED Paul Washington, who is charged with helping to create a vibrant and innovative business environment in Denver that will result in job growth and a sustainable economy.
The Mayor has instructed the economic development team to refocus the Office of Economic Development on small business support and lending; business retention, expansion and recruitment; workforce development; and economic sustainability in key neighborhoods, including the financing of affordable housing adjacent to high-transit corridors.
“We need to combine resources from the City, business and economic development sectors to break down silos, provide top-notch customer service and develop innovative initiatives to support our businesses,” Washington said. “Chris has a deep understanding of this City paired with strong community wherewithal that will play an essential role in focusing a strategy to grow and sustain a 21st Century economy in Denver.”
Martinez will lead the small business and start-up advisory group established during Hancock’s first 100 days to accomplish substantive goals to help retain and grow small businesses in Denver. This group will focus on high-growth, innovative start-ups that create new products and services resulting in the creation of high-paying jobs.
“It is an honor to join Mayor Hancock’s team and get to work,” Martinez said. “I look forward to hitting the ground running to become the number one advocate for our small and start-up businesses, and build an ecosystem that supports the creation of jobs.”
Martinez has more than 35 years of experience in the financial sector working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Denver branch. Managing the financial service needs for 280 institutions in Colorado and northern New Mexico, Martinez’ knowledge and understanding of banking and economics will be an asset to the City and the small business sector.
Martinez more recently served as a board member of the Regional Transportation District where he represented the interests of over 150,000 residents and was accountable for a broad range of financial responsibilities in the management of a $480 million budget for the Denver metro area.