Business panels highlight ways to start & grow a business

Business at Elevation

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

There is a lot that goes into starting, developing, and growing a business in rural San Miguel County. Just ask the 1,000-plus business license holders in the Telluride Region. So in an effort to connect current and future business owners and entrepreneurs with local resources, organizations and programs, Mountain Village and Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) are hosting two Business at Elevation events May 31 and June 15.

“Mountain Village is committed to current and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs by playing a support role in fostering a strong business community. One way to show the town’s support is to bring tangible programming and services to San Miguel County,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development for Mountain Village. “I encourage anyone who wants to gain access to business people and programs, and grow their network, to attend one or both of the Business at Elevation events.”

The first event, Business at Elevation: Funding for Business Start and Growth, will include a panel discussion among investors, lenders, lawyers and business development professionals who can advise and inform attendees on how to fund a business idea or grow an existing company.

“Funding is the fuel that powers business. But not all funding is alike and frequently business owners mis-finance assets causing problems in repayment or unnecessary loss of ownership,” explained TVA Director and Panel Moderator Thea Chase. “This panel is a very diverse group which can enlighten you to the pros and cons of various funding instruments, allowing you to make the best decision for your company.”

Feature panelists include Elliot Steinberg, managing partner of Telluride Venture Fund; Len Metheny, coordinator of Telluride Angels; Mike Volk, VP- commercial relationship manager with U.S. Bank; Jack Donenfeld, securities attorney on regulation crowdfunding; and representatives from the Region 10 Public Loan Fund.

The second event, Business at Elevation: Women in Business and Investment, also will include a panel discussion with Elizabeth Kraus as the keynote speaker. Kraus is co-founder and chief investment officer of MergeLane, a startup accelerator and fund targeting companies with at least one woman in leadership. Kraus is also very active in the national and statewide effort to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem and mobilize angel investors. She will be joined by other businesswomen to address this topic more broadly with a question and answer format.

“Studies show that startups with at least one woman in leadership outperform those without, yet only 18 percent of startups have at least one female founder,” explained Kraus. “Investing in women is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.”

Both events will be held in Madeline Hotel Ballroom. For more details and to register, visit Business at Elevation: Funding for Business Start and Growth and Business at Elevation: Women in Business and Investment.