Panel discussion explores women in business and investment

Business at Elevation

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

Four women, all business experts in their industry verticals, will speak June 15 at the Madeline Hotel Ballroom beginning at 12:30 p.m. This is the second and final event in the Business at Elevation summer series that connects business leaders with current and aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs.

Keynoting the event is Elizabeth Kraus, co-founder and chief investment officer of MergeLane, a startup accelerator and fund that targets 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 three other business women – Kristin Holbrooke, Jen Taylor, and Patty Denny – to address the topic of women in business and investment more broadly.

“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.”

Panel Speakers

Kristin Holbrooke | Retail: Founder of Two Skirts, Kristin has successfully maintained a retail presence in Telluride for over 15 years. Her clothes selection mirrors the tastes of Telluride – avoiding trendy labels and instead appealing to lifestyles from work to play, yoga to sophisticate. Not only is her choice of merchandise cornerstone to her success, but customer service the key to longevity. Come hear her thoughts on how to create a sustainable retail enterprise.

Jen Taylor | Outdoor Industry: Jen is founder of Mountain Sprouts, an outdoor apparel company featuring outerwear for active kids. In 2007, the company sold to Mountain Khakis, and since that time Jen has been part of the team as the brand manager and director of creative development. An avid lover of the outdoors and super passionate about the industry, Jen has been instrumental in supporting emerging companies in the outdoor space as a founder of the Manufacturers of Outdoor Gear Sale, now the GEAR UP Festival, on the Western Slope with Chacos. GEAR UP provides the opportunity to sell direct and move inventory.

Patty Denny | Manufacturing: Former Broadway actress turned chocolatier, Patty has created one of Telluride’s favored (and flavored) brands from their famous hot chocolate to the fourteener series. Patty’s creativity has elevated Telluride Truffle to a category of must-stops in Telluride. And she has created a worldwide presence shipping her products to several countries and throughout the U.S. Commercial space in Lawson Hill serves as the locale for her manufacturing facility. She also sells products through their e-commerce site and retail shop.

“Having this diverse panel of women who are experts in various industries, from investment to retail and manufacturing, are sure to inspire and help create a network of regional business women,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development for Mountain Village.

For more details and to register, visit Business at Elevation: Women in Business and Investment. Heavy appetizers and beverages will be provided. Business at Elevation is a partnership between Mountain Village and Telluride Venture Accelerator.

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.

Local organizations bring business services and programs to San Miguel County

Business Development

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

There is a lot that goes into starting, developing, and growing a business in rural San Miguel County, so local organizations offer a number of programs and services to help with this endeavor. To learn more about these programs and services and how to gain access to them, the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride, West Central Region 10 Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Region 10, and Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA) are hosting Business at Elevation. This free event will be held in Mountain Village Town Hall at 10 a.m. June 22 and will cover topics such as free small business consulting, small business loans, and Enterprise Zone tax credits.

“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. “Business at Elevation is an event that is inclusive of anyone who wants to engage the business community and be part of its fabric. It is also important to note that the discussion on June 22 isn’t a one-way street, but rather a two-way conversation as the information presented by Region 10 and the SBDC is important but what is more important is to hear from attendees so Mountain Village and others can provide services and programs that have value to the business community.”

Business at Elevation will stream live at townofmountainvillage.com/video. Light fare and drinks will be served.
New SBDC Satellite Office | Small Business Consulting Services

Due to an increase in demand and support from local government and TVA, a satellite office has expanded to include San Miguel County and Ouray County. According to Region 10’s Small Business Resource Director Vince Fandel, the West Central SBDC program has been building slowly over the past year with robust programs in Montrose and Delta counties. After receiving requests from TVA and the Town of Mountain Village to expand its program to include San Miguel County, Fandel contacted the state’s SBDC office and the SBDC’s host, Western State Colorado University, requesting a full satellite expansion. The satellite office opened officially in March.

A popular and invaluable service offered by the SBDC is free access to one-on-one business consulting. According to Fandel, two consultants who live in the region were screened and are now certificated to serve the area’s small business owners and entrepreneurs. To access this service, San Miguel County business owners may register online and in turn will be paired with a consultant to discuss in confidential meetings an array of topics like business planning, feasibility analysis, valuation, accessing capital, financial reports and analysis, social media strategies and website development, access to capital, just to name a few. Fandel said that through the consultation process, business owners and entrepreneurs have access to a number of tools like a business health assessment using ProfitSense, which generates a report on the health of your business based on data such as tax returns. In an effort to better serve San Miguel County, the SBDC is also recruiting more business consultants who are interested in confidential, one-on-one consulting and have expertise in marketing and business plans, financials, e-commerce insight, and website analysis. Qualifications to become a consultant vary depending upon the individual’s expertise.

“With the start of TVA, more and more entrepreneurs and small businesses owners have emerged and requested access to mentors and advisors to help them grow their business,” explained TVA Director Thea Chase. “SBDC is a national resource that has provided this assistance for over 40 years, but until now service to our community was limited. We are excited to work with Region 10 and the towns to build a robust network of consultants to help our local business community and entrepreneurs start and grow successful companies in the region.”
Small Business Loan Program

Through the Small Business Resource Center, a division of Region 10, business owners may apply for a small business loan without the regulatory burdens that most banks work under and are funded through state and federal agencies. Per Region 10’s website, over the past 30 years the Business Loan Fund has assisted 250 local small businesses and non-profits with over $9 million in loans. Loans typically range from $5,000 to $250,000 with fixed rates and a maximum term of 10 years or less. Moreover, the Fund focuses on loans that create or retain jobs or that expand businesses needed in the growing regional economy. Accepted use of funds includes working capital, equipment, inventory and other supportable expenditures.
Enterprise Zone Tax Credits Program

A number of businesses fall within the Enterprise Zone. This includes any business located in incorporated and unincorporated areas in San Miguel County, excluding the Town of Telluride. According to Region 10, if one’s business is located within the Enterprise Zone, they can apply for tax credits. Tax credits include three percent investment tax credit, $1,100 new employee credit, $1,000 Employer Sponsored Health Insurance Tax Credit, and others. The program was created by Colorado legislature to promote a business-friendly environment in economically distressed areas by offering state income tax credits that incentivize businesses to locate and develop in communities. Taxpayers investing in Enterprise Zones can earn a credit on their Colorado income tax by planning and executing specific economic development activities. In addition, one could contribute to the Small Business Resource Center which would qualify for the Enterprise Zone tax credit since the Center is also an Enterprise Zone project.

To learn more about these services and programs, visit Region10.net.

SBDC expands into San Miguel County, offers free access to business consultants

Business Development

Words by Nichole Zangara / Business Development

Due to an increase in demand and support from the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA), an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, and the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride, the West Central Region 10 Small Business Development Center (SBDC) satellite office is expanding to include San Miguel County and Ouray County.

According to Region 10’s Small Business Resource Director Vince Fandel, the West Central SBDC program has been building slowly over the past year with robust programs in Montrose and Delta counties. After receiving requests from TVA and the Town of Mountain Village to expand its program to include San Miguel County, Fandel contacted the state’s SBDC office and the SBDC’s host, Western State Colorado University, requesting a full satellite expansion.

To celebrate the expansion, the SBDC is hosting a grand opening of the satellite office March 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Region 10 office, located at 300 N. Cascade in Montrose. Representatives from the state SBDC office, Western State Colorado University, and other community members will be available to answer questions.

A popular and invaluable service offered by the SBDC is free access to one-on-one business consulting and no to low-cost business training. According to Fandel, several consultants who live in the region have been screened, are in the certification process, and will be able to specifically serve the area’s entrepreneurs. Local companies will also have access to other consultants certified throughout the state. To access services, San Miguel County business owners register online and will be paired with a consultant to discuss in confidential meetings an array of topics like business planning, valuation, accessing capital, financial reports and analysis, just to name a few. Qualifications to become a consultant vary depending upon the individual’s expertise.

“With the start of TVA, more and more entrepreneurs and small businesses owners have emerged and requested access to mentors and advisors to help them grow their business,” explained TVA Director Thea Chase. “SBDC is a national resource that has provided this assistance for over 40 years, but until now service to our community was limited. We are excited to work with Region 10 and the Town of Mountain Village to build a robust network of consultants to help our local business community and entrepreneurs start and grow successful companies in the region.”

To attend the SBDC grand opening, RSVP online or at 970.249.2436, and for more information about the SBDC, visit, region10.net/smallbusiness.