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Portrait of a businesnesswoman

American Express OPEN, the small-business services unit of American Express, has put out a report based on Census Bureau Statistics called the State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

The report heralds some great news for Colorado small business. Metro Denver is ranked 13th among the nation’s top 25 metro areas in growth in the number of women-owned firms since 1997, and eighth in growth of firm revenue.

I’ll let some of the stats speak for themselves

  • 85,600 women-owned firms in Denver today, compared with 69,053 in 2002. Those firms employ about 73,400 people, up from 69,053 in 2002.
  • Women-owned firms in Denver will have an estimated $15.4 billion in sales in 2012, up 53.8 percent from $10.01 billion in 2002
  • In Colorado, there was a 51.5 percent increase in...

 

Crowd Surfing with Skype @SXSW

A new bill that is expected to be signed into law soon will allow startups to raise finance using online platforms and their social networks. It forms part of the JOBS Act, whose goal is to cut down on red tape for US startups and help these companies expand and create jobs.

Coined the Crowdfunding Bill, but in actuality part of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, it is backed by Colorado Senator Mike Bennett. The Bill encourages equity crowd-funding, which allows start-ups to raise seed capital from any number of investors in small amounts through emerging equity crowd-funding platforms. Some of these platforms include:

  • Seedups, which claims, via their website, to have matched startups with investors for over $58 million in capital thus far.
  • Crowdcube, out of the UK...

Solitary green tree on an empty island

A sole proprietorship is an entity owned and operated by a single individual.  This is often the simplest business formation option in Colorado, as there are no formal filing requirements. It is also the most often formed business operation. One has merely to register the name as a trade name if it is not the first and last name of the owner.  There are, of course, some issues to be aware of if you choose to go the sole proprietor route instead of, say, the S Corp or even the LLC:

  • The owner is personally liable for all of the business’ debts and liabilities. If a loan is involved, it will be the personal liability of the owner of the sole proprietorship, setting aside the issue of personal guarantee. If the owner is not able to meet his or her obligations on the loan, the bank may come after the owner’s personal assets (i.e. personal bank account, house, etc.)
  • On the legal side, any lawsuit...

 

Colorado Middle Range

As a Colorado based business attorney, my attention is often focused on the innovative activity happening in the Rocky Mountain region. Colorado LLCs, S Corps and C Corps are being fostered and formed all over the front range.

One great regional example is Boulder. Amongst other creative nicknames for this colorful city, “Silicon Flatirons” stands out as a beacon to creative entrepreneurial minds. This isn’t just by chance, many successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have worked hard to build Boulder as a center for idea exchange. Here a few examples of the activities around Boulder:

  • Boulder Open Coffee Club, which is part of a network of OpenCoffee Club’s being created worldwide, sets up shop every other Tuesday AM in the Atlas purveyors coffee shop. The purpose is for anyone to stop by to talk technology, business, and startups. It was founded by...

 

presentation skills

The Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) has defined a strategy where they will invest in venture capital or private equity linked to Colorado. They have just issued an RFP for a private equity manager to run $25 million to $50 million in an in-state investment fund. PERA has $38.3 billion in its defined benefit plan, with 9%, or 43,4 billion allocated to “alternative investments” such as venture capital.

PERA Sees the Light

This is great news for the innovative Colorado startups, LLCs, S Corps and C Corps out there who are looking for an injection of capital. It is also great that our state’s largest pension fund (and 21st largest in the U.S.) is seeking some homegrown  businesses to return dollars back in to Colorado. Although this strategy of setting aside money for Colorado companies is new for PERA, funding will come from cash within the existing alternatives budget.

  • ...

 

Credit Card

Small businesses in Colorado take notice. Mark Udall, the U.S. Senator from Colorado, has been working to get a bipartisan bill passed through Congress which would increase access to capital for small businesses by lifting the cap on credit union lending.

Historically, credit unions have not been able to provide the credit and lending opportunities that both the large and community banks have a lock on. Many of these same large banks have received $30 billion of taxpayer bailout money, yet the lending environment for Colorado small businesses remains stagnant, limiting job growth. Estimates are that Senator Udall’s bill, dubbed the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, could create as many as 100,000 jobs for Colorado.

Don’t Fence Me In

Yet, a bill that seems to be wreathed in common sense will often find it a difficult road...

The Economist recently published an article called “Over Regulation in America.” Its premise is that regulation established around business starts out with good intention, but become mired in endless detail...

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has recently changed the parameters of what it considers a small business for 34 different industry groups. This was a way for the SBA to allow more businesses to qualify as federal contractors and expand...

 

Fast Company has a fine article out on the innovation being developed in the med-tech area in a most unassuming place: Aurora, CO. Montview boulevard in Aurora is actually host to some of the country’s top medical facilities, including the Anschutz Medical Center. Anschutz is home to the University of Colorado Medical School and Cancer Center, plus a new Veteran’s Hospital. Across the street is the Fitzsimon’s Life Sciences District, including a 160 acre biosciences park.

Colorado startups like Taiga Biotechnologies, a stem cell technologies developer, can take advantage of the relatively inexpensive facilities at Fitzsimon’s that Fast Company describes as part incubator, part garage. The founders of Taiga work across the street at Anschutz, and save loads of opportunity costs by having a facility across the street where they can work on their ideas while patching together funding from family, friends and angel investors. I...

The Colorado SBDC, with 14 regional hubs and funding from the Small Business Administration, is focused on helping all businesses. Colorado start-ups to larger businesses can enjoy the resources supplied by the organization.  Areas of fundamental business help include:

  • Information
  • Counseling
  • Technical assistance
  • Training in business startups, operations and management

They have just released their annual report, and the numbers don’t lie. In 2011, all the sub-centers together:

  • Counseled more than 5,500 businesses, spread throughout all 64 of the state’s counties.
  • Created/retained more than 5,400 jobs.
  • Produced $882.2 million in government and private-sector contracts.
  • Helped produce $150.4 million in contracts and private infusion of capital, such as bank loans and money raised from owners, friends and family.

…Because Everyone Could Use a Hand...

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