Start Your Business
Congratulations on starting your business adventure! Denver is a business-friendly city and we are proud to offer various resources to support our small business owners and startup entrepreneurs in getting their ideas off the ground. We invite you to read the Step-by-Step Guide to Start a Business(PDF, 2MB) and/or to make an appointment completely free of charge with one of our business development representatives for more in-depth information and guidance.
Featured Program: Social Equity Technical Assistance for Cannabis Entrepreneurs
Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) has launched a targeted entrepreneurial assistance program for aspiring cannabis business owners that is specifically designed to boost ownership among individuals disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.
Visit the page to learn more about this program and how to apply.
Here's a quick overview of the main areas to tackle as you start your business-ownership journey.
Whether this is your first “go” at business ownership or you’re a serial entrepreneur, developing a strong foundation is key. In the planning stage you will:
Develop a business plan
Here you will outline the purpose of your business – the need that you will fulfill by providing a good or service – as well as how your business will operate. This will help you test ideas before going to market and avoid potential pitfalls.
Choose a business name and legal structure
Your business name is the main identifier of your venture. Choosing a business name can be a fun process where you can let your creativity run. However, there are many factors to consider, one of them is checking the availability of the name you are choosing. Search for business name availability and register your business name and structure with the Colorado Secretary of State.
Select a location, determine zoning & site permitting
When selecting a site, it is important to ensure the location is appropriate for your business. Among the factors to consider are the type of building, location, zoning, and available parking. To learn more about the regulatory requirements that may apply to your business, contact Denver Community Planning & Development.
Business Licensing & Permitting
To legally operate in the City and County of Denver, you may be required to obtain a special business license or permit. Visit the Denver’s Business Licensing Center page, or email them to find out the type of permit or license you may need. For licensing and permitting questions at the State level, you may contact the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Financing & Taxes
Financing your business and your tax obligations go hand in hand and the process could be complex, but there are plenty of resources to guide you.
Prior to seeking financing, it is important to ensure proper legal structure for your business, a well written business plan based on market research, detailed financial projections, and ensuring that all industry regulatory and legal requirements are being met.
As you make plans to start your business, you will need to register with the local, state, and federal tax authorities. Several types of taxes may be levied on your business, depending on industry and location. Taxes may include income tax, employment tax, sales tax, and city business tax.
If you will have employees you must register as an employer, pay additional taxes; withhold, match and submit employee withholdings; obtain worker’s compensation insurance; and follow other employee eligibility regulations. Start by visiting the Colorado Business Navigator website to register your business with the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment and establish an unemployment insurance account.