Friday 12 April, 2013
Lots of things go into starting a business. You need a unique vision, a good plan, and an understanding of your market. But even the best laid plans won’t fly without the secret ingredient to getting a business started – funding.
Denver and the Rocky Mountain Front Range have a thriving business scene. Each year new start-ups are getting their products and services to the market. It can be a challenge to get the funding your business needs, but as the Colorado economy gets better, this means more options available.
Funding from Banks
Banks are generally conservative and cautious when it comes to business lending. This is especially true in times of economic turmoil. When the country has suffered through a recession, this makes getting funding from banks especially difficult. As the economy recovers, these lending institutions become more generous.
The good news is that Denver is recovering from the economy at a faster rate than the rest of the country. Another advantage to starting a business in Denver is that there are a number of options available such as credit unions and banks that specialize in business lending.
The Small Business Administration
It’s not uncommon for businesses to get rejected by banks and that’s why there are so many alternatives. If you’re based in Denver, the Colorado office of the Small Business Administration can be a great help. The SBA has a wide variety of programs available for start-ups that offer financing. In addition, they have resources to help you get funding if you can’t get it directly from them.
The Colorado Venture Capital Scene
At the time of writing, Denver doesn’t have a great deal of homegrown venture capital firms, but this is changing quickly. The venture capital scene is thriving in Boulder and the same thing is starting to happen in Denver. The number of local VC firms is growing and nationwide VC firms are increasingly opening Denver branches because of the boom in area start-ups.
In 2012, 90 Colorado companies received funding from venture capital firms to the tune of $550 million total. The majority of this funding came from out of state, but Colorado is considered one of the hot areas of the country to watch.
Other Funding Sources
Another place to look for funding is the Denver Office of Economic Development, which has several loan programs for eligible businesses. Two programs it offers are the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) and Neighborhood Business Revitalization (NBR).
There are also community development funding sources. These are non-profit organizations that fill in the gaps left by traditional funding sources. The list includes ACCION Colorado, Seedco Financial, Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) and more. Each organization has its own requirements for eligibility.
Various events and workshops held in the Denver area help small companies network and find funding sources. In June 2012, the South Metro Denver Small Business Development Center held a workshop where companies could consult with lenders directly. The annual Rockies Venture Club’s Angle Capital Summit is held in March, and 2012 saw the first ever Denver Startup Week, a huge event aimed at helping small businesses.
There is no shortage of funding options for Denver businesses. All you need to do is put in the legwork seeking out these funding sources and finding out what they require.