Western Slope businesses will have the ear of Gov. John Hickenlooper with the recent appointments of two Business Incubator Center employees.
Gov. Hickenlooper named Incubator director Jon Maraschin to the Small Business Council for a four-year term. The council recommends regulatory and statutory changes at all levels of government to encourage the initiation, stability and growth of small business enterprises.
"We'll be taking back to the governor what small businesses are telling us; what they're struggling with," Maraschin said. "It helps us have a voice in the state on issues affecting small businesses."
The governor's office is holding a series of forums to learn what issues businesses are facing. Entrepreneurs consistently struggle with not having access to capital, Maraschin said.
"Generally, banks will not lend to businesses less than 3 years old," he said.
The Incubator's revolving loan fund program can lend money to people with a sound business plan, who may not be able to obtain bank financing. The Incubator also works with banks to help people secure small business loans.
"We help to bridge that access gap," Maraschin said.
The Incubator's Enterprise Zone Administrator Kjersti Hudson was appointed to the Office of Economic Development and International Trade Enterprise Zone Task Force.
The Enterprise Zone program was created in 1986 to encourage job creation, capital investment and economic development activities in economically depressed areas by providing tax credits to for-profit businesses and contribution project donors.
The purpose of the governor's task force is to review the effectiveness of the Enterprise Zone program.
The task force will meet five times from July through November to review the criteria for designation of an enterprise zone, assess the effectiveness of tax credits in achieving the EZ purposes, assess the program's efficiency, and address other issues task force members deem important.
The Enterprise Zone program needs to be reviewed to ensure it is effective under current economic conditions, Hudson said.
"It's a prestigious appointment for (Hudson) to be involved in," Maraschin said. "Also, it's a benefit for our community to have local representation on the Front Range.
"We try and make sure our staff is involved with the community and the state. You have to be involved if you want a say in things."
Maraschin became Incubator director seven months ago.
"We're busy, very busy," he said. "We're working with a lot of people, a lot of existing businesses - helping them to survive, add product, expand.
"We certainly have resources to help."
The Incubator also offers free business counselors, a commercial kitchen, plus office and shop rental space at its campus located at 2591 Legacy Way.
For more information about the Business Incubator, visit www.gjincubator.org.