Success Stories from the Region

cmcColorado Mountain College to offer two more bachelor’s degrees starting fall 2015 
Two more bachelor’s degrees will be offered through Colorado Mountain College beginning fall semester of 2015, following approvals received this month from the college’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission.   The Bachelor of Applied Science in leadership and management will be offered at Colorado Mountain College locations in Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs and Edwards. The Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies: elementary education will be offered at Colorado Mountain College locations in Glenwood Springs and Edwards. These two new degrees join three other bachelor’s degree programs currently offered at the college in business administration, nursing and sustainability studies, as well as more than 100 associate degrees and certificates, and hundreds of non-credit and lifelong learning courses. For more information, go to or or call 1-800-621-8559.

hickndangibbsGovernor Hickenlooper signs the Mobile Learning Labs bill into law on May 13 at ElevateCOSpace in Frisco
The Mobile Learning Labs bill (HB15-1271) is a piece of legislation from a bipartisan Colorado Ready to Work Package, which will foster workforce development across the state.  The signing took place Wednesday, May 13th at ElevateCOSpace in Frisco. The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon).  This Mobile Learning Labs bill is a new law that provides funds for on-site workforce training. Hamner gave a brief explanation of how the bill can benefit Colorado businesses.  The Mobile Learning Lab bill takes funds from the Colorado Existing Industry Training Program and siphons them into mobile, scalable programs for business owners. The mobile program gives employers a flexible option for affordable training, according to the bill sponsors. The bill takes effect in August.

Region’s Entrepreneurs Featured in ColoradoBiz Magazine
Northern and central mountains resident entrepreneurs often begin as tourists
By Suzie Romig
Communities in the northern and central mountains of Colorado rely heavily on tourism dollars, but are trying to reduce that level of dependence by courting a different type of tourist.  Repeat visitors and second homeowners – who already have an emotional or financial investment in the community – are considered more impactful in helping broaden business diversity. Economic planners want to attract avid fly-fishermen, skiers and adventure cyclists to become future business owners who create good-paying, year-round jobs and support economic stability. Now that the economic impact of Internet-connected, geography-neutral businesses is apparent and better documented in the region, leaders are turning from trying to lure relocating companies to hooking entrepreneurs who already love the area. “It’s important to diversify our economy because we have a. . .Read entire article

Congratulations to Silverthorne and Lake Dillon Theatre Company!

The Town of Silverthorne and the Lake Dillon Theatre Company have agreed to the concept of a jointly funded facility to be located on Town property adjacent to the Silverthorne Pavilion, with a projected opening date in early 2017.   Silverthorne has been working for many years to establish plans and tools to enable the development of a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly downtown, and as part of that vision, the Town’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan update identified the downtown as a desired location for cultural arts amenities. Read More Silverthorne/Lake Dillon Theatre


Aspen Celebrates its Victorian Architecture with New Website
The Aspen Community Development Department is pleased to announce a new website that honors and celebrates Aspen’s Victorian architecture.  The website – – features 247 Aspen Victorian properties that are local landmarks.  The site includes a map showing where each property is located, and a photograph and description for each house or building, including the year it was built and its style.This is a living website and will continually be updated with new information and history.  The featured properties can be sorted by architectural style, historic district, National Register listing, and more. The site will also feature historic preservation projects which have received an award from the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission.  A “Then and Now” page shows the dramatic changes that have been made to some structures and offers a glimpse of what might be gained from restoration.

coworking_optNew coworking alliance helps skiers balance work and play

Ski resort companies have already created season passes allowing skiers and snowboarders to visit and enjoy multiple mountain resorts in the same year. Now, a new group called the Mountain Coworking Alliance has created its own version of a season pass at these mountain coworking locations. The latest of these coworking spaces is Elevate Cospace in Frisco. It’s slated to open Oct. 1.

“Elevate helped to create this new Mountain Coworking Alliance with the goal of creating a network of these mountain-town workspaces to offer our coworking members reciprocal days (and to share best practices with the group),” said Amy Kemp, one of the three founders of Elevate Cospace in Frisco. “It’s essentially a season pass for work. And we believe the coworking alliance pass will allow skiers and riders to do what they love and still have a real job.”

Members of any of the seven coworking spaces included will receive two free days at any of the other participating spaces, including Elevate, Base Camp in Avon, RiverCoWorks in Basalt, Durango Workspace in Durango, Spark Jackson Hole in Jackson Hole, and Tahoe Mill Collective in North Lake Tahoe and Tahoe Mountain Lab in South Lake Tahoe.  read entire story


startupweekend_teamworkingRural Rocky Mountains Untapped Market 0f Entrepreneurial Spirit

Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey announced in an iconic 1978 address that on the eighth day God created farmers. If that’s so, then on the ninth he created entrepreneurs. At least that’s what Alex Huppenthal sees as he’s working to help develop an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” in the small towns of the High Rockies and across rural Western Colorado. “Forty-two percent of Americans live in rural areas, yet most entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are located in cities like Denver,” Huppenthal said. “But there are outstanding ideas coming from rural entrepreneurs. The evolution of technology in rural Western Colorado has made it possible to open up connections between entrepreneurs.” read entire story

startupweekendOPTStart Up Weekend Breckenridge August 15 – 18 a Huge Success

Trio of Steamboat Springs entrepreneurs wins at Breckenridge startup weekend

Lindsay Balgooyen and her brother, Dan, were hiking around Smith Rock in Oregon in May when they thought of their big business idea.  They soon quit their jobs and abandoned an earlier idea to start a men’s yoga apparel company.  Just weeks later, their new entrepreneurial endeavor would take the top prize at the Breckenridge Startup Weekend and spur a move from Steamboat Springs to new shared office space in Frisco.  “This is actually much more of a rewarding business than what we had planned,” Dan Balgooyen said Tuesday in Steamboat.  It’s called Gr8ful Giveback.  The idea is to better connect businesses with nonprofits and consumers.  Using Twitter and Facebook, businesses will be able to partner with a nonprofit of their choice for a giveback campaign and offer incentives based on the number of shares a post about the business and nonprofit gets on the social media. Read entire article

Colorado Mountain College to offer bachelor of science in nursing this fall

As of Aug. 25 – the first day of Colorado Mountain College’s fall semester – the college will offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing, for registered nurses.The new Bachelor of Science in nursing degree, also known as the RN to BSN, will be based at Colorado Mountain College locations in Spring Valley-Glenwood Springs and Breckenridge. However, since the program involves mostly online learning requiring only occasional visits to the college’s campuses, working nurses throughout the CMC service area and beyond may enroll.
RN to BSN functions somewhat differently than a standard four-year bachelor’s degree, as students must have already attained a level of nursing proficiency. Currently, CMC offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science in nursing, which qualifies students to become licensed registered nurses. To enroll in the college’s new bachelor’s program, students must already have earned their associate degree in nursing and hold an RN license in the state of Colorado, in addition to other requirements.

The college received approval July 8 from its accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission, to offer the new bachelor’s degree. With that approval now in hand, CMC is applying for candidacy status from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The college previously obtained approvals to offer the degree from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education. For more information, go to or call 800-621-8559.

nlf_AndyGoldNorthwest Loan Fund – Three Closings and an Early Payout!

Read Entire Story Here: NLF Update June 2014

The Northwest Loan fund recently closed 3 loans, thereby providing the needed capital to three businesses.  Aircraft Technical Book Company in Tabernash, Colorado had a dream to expand the international reach of ATB’s training manuals they publish for the aviation industry. ATB company publishes technical and practical manuals for pilots and mechanics of fixed wing private and commercial aircraft and helicopters. To expand his business and add new jobs, he needed capital.   An agreement was made whereby ATB received partial funding through a bank approved loan, and the balance through the Northwest Loan Fund.   Doug Berg had completed all the necessary certifications to become an Insurance Agent and was affiliated with the Farmer’s Insurance Agency. When the opportunity to purchase a thriving insurance agency was presented, Doug began the process to come up with the necessary capital, and he looked into the Northwest Loan Fund. All the elements for success fell into place at exactly the right time, enabling the loan to be approved and closed in just under four weeks. Doug is now the owner of Farmer’s Insurance Company of Frisco and has two employees.  Seven years ago, the dream of a young couple to purchase a sandwich shop in Breckenridge, CO was made reality with a loan from the Northwest Loan Fund.  Within two months, they had the funding to buy the existing business, do some renovations, and open a sandwich shop on Ski-Hill Road. Today, people know it as Duggan’s Deli and it has been a favorite spot for exceptional sandwiches for seven years. Congratulations to Duggan’s Deli for recently paying off their loan early.

 Grand County leads the region in job growth

(from the Ski-Hi News, by Hank Shell)

In the most recent quarterly economic update sent out by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, data shows that Grand County is the regional leader in job growth, with an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, which was lower than both the state and the national rates. Job growth in the county increased by 4.4 percent from April 2013 to April 2014.
The spur of economic development in the county may partially be attributed to job-growth programs established in recent years, such as Grand County’s economic development department and the Grand Enterprise Initiative, which offers one-on-one free and confidential business management coaching to anyone who wants to start or expand a business. Since starting in January 2013, Grand Enterprise Initiative facilitator Patrick Brower has managed to improve the business climate in Grand County. At the end of his first year with the Grand Enterprise Initiative, Brower helped entrepreneurs create four new businesses, which in turn created five new jobs. In his second year, Brower worked with nine new businesses, which in turned created 22 new jobs. He attributes his rapid client growth to people feeling more confident in the business climate. Read entire article




Entrepreneurs learn to pitch their ideas at Pitchfest Academy in Aspen on June 27th
from Post Independent, by Will Grandbois

The talent for dreaming up the next big thing doesn’t always come with the talent for selling the idea.  The Roaring Fork Business Resource Center partnered last week with the Rockies Venture Club to help Western Slope entrepreneurs with the tough proposition of condensing their vision down to a five- or 10-minute pitch.  NWCCOG Economic Development District and the Northwest Loan Fund were sponsors of the event.

Seven local and regional groups spent the morning at the Aspen Glen Club with Peter Adams, venture club executive director and co-author of “Venture Capital for Dummies.” In the afternoon, while the innovators touched up their presentations, Adams worked with potential investors looking to recognize a good deal.  In the evening, the entrepreneurs and the investors met for the event’s grand finale – a strictly enforced 10-minute pitch and Q&A session for each of group of innovators. The audience was provided with “venture bucks” so the pitchers could get instant feedback. Adams instructed the crowd to conduct their due diligence before investing real money.  Read entire article

2013/14 Ski Season Noted as Best Year for Colorado

Skier Visits Surge Past 12 Million Benchmark
Copper Mountain, Colo. – June 12, 2014 – Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) announced today at the association’s 51st Annual Meeting that statewide skier visits totaled an estimated 12.6 million for the 2013/14 ski season, thereby making it the best season on record in the state. This estimation shows Colorado being up more than 10 percent compared to last season and more than 8 percent compared to the five-year-average.  Read entire article from Colorado Ski Country USA: 2012-13 Ski Season Noted as Best Year for Colorado 614314

Town of Silverthorne serves incubator role and leases land to entrepreneur for solar demonstration garden to help a start-up company

(from the Summit Daily News, 5/30/14, By Alli Langley)
If you drive along Highway 9 in Silverthorne this summer, you might notice something new being built: a solar demonstration garden. At a regular meeting Wednesday, May 16, the town council approved a free three-year lease of a quarter-acre of land to Silverthorne resident Fin Doyle and his start-up company Sulas Industries.
Doyle, a mechanical engineer who owns the snowboard gear manufacturer Bomber Industries, plans to break ground in the next few weeks on a project at least two years in the works. Inspired by heliotropism found in nature, he designed a new way of helping solar panels track the sun, making them more cost- and energy-efficient. “Mother Nature does it without computers. Why can’t we?” he said. “This is exactly how flowers do it. We just mechanized it.” Read entire article

City of Aspen Launches Business Navigator Website

People seeking permits and approvals from the City have often requested information that highlights how land use, permit and licensing approval processes work from beginning to end.  They have also expressed difficulties finding what they need on the City’s website. In response, the City is announcing the launch of a new website called the Business Navigator.  The Business Navigator brings together information formerly scattered across multiple department website into a customer-friendly central location.  It currently provides summary level information and explanations for four sets of activities:

  • Start or Manage Your Business
  • Enhance Existing Businesses
  • Build or Remodel
  • Grade, Excavate or Use Public Right of Way

 Check it out HERE!

Eagle Valley Regional Airport looks to expanding into new target markets in the future

Officials of the Eagle Valley Regional Airport have released their Domestic Market Analysis and master plan which highlights current service levels and possible new target markets for EGE. New target markets include year-round service to Chicago and winter service to Charlotte, N.C., Las Vegas, Boston, Austin, Fort Lauderdale, St. Louis, Kansas City, Baltimore, Oakland and Washington Dulles Airport. A draft of the master plan is available at:, under “Project Documents.”, 03.12.14

Frisco Whole Foods Market Gearing Up

The Frisco Whole Foods Market is set to open April 29, and John Gengel has been named manager at the Frisco store. Gengel has worked at Whole Foods for 14 years, with his latest assignment as the leader of the Whole Foods Market in Belmar, in Lakewood. The Frisco store will employ 158 workers and is still in the process of hiring. The Frisco store will hire about 55% of the workers for full-time employment, and 45% part-time. – -Summit Daily, 03.06.14

95% “Good or Excellent” rating on Quality of Life in Pitkin County

Pitkin County officials Tuesday released results of its 2014 Pitkin County Community Survey, which showed nearly 96% of those surveyed rated the county either good or excellent in regard to the county as a place to live, and 95% rated the quality of life as good or excellent. The 7-page survey was mailed to a random sample of 3,500 households in the county and 525 people completed the survey. Complete survey results are available at: -Aspen Times, 03.12.14

Summit County businesses reported 20.6% growth in 2013 – results are in from the national survey on holiday shopping figures

Summit Independent Business Alliance (SIBA)  invites local businesses to participate so that we can see local results in comparison to national numbers. The good news is that reporting Summit County businesses reported a 20.6% growth in 2013, compared to 5.3% nationally. And, for holiday shopping numbers, Summit County saw an 8.2% growth, compared to 1.4% nationally. This bodes well for our local economic recovery. SIBA 2013 National Survey Results.