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Longmont, Fort Collins businesses win state marketing grants

Longmont-based BC Home Services and Fort Collins-based FoCo Food Truck Rally are among 40 small businesses in the state that received $5,000 digital marketing grants from the business-support division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Gov. Jared Polis announced Thursday.

The grants, distributed through the state’s Small Business Accelerated Growth Program, are designed to help business owners in Colorado establish an online presence with a focus on best practices for websites and social media.

BC Home Services owner Jorge Navarrete, who will celebrate two years in business in September, said he’s grateful for the grant because “it helps me have some funding for marketing. In this day and age, it can be expensive to market, so having the state help you out is very helpful.”

Navarette said he took a class through the Small Business Development Center from March through late May to help improve his business, which specializes in renovations and other home construction projects.

“The courses offered by the state are a great resource,” he said. “They teach us a lot of things about how to elevate our marketing. They have virtual modules that teach you about posting on social media, give you some tools and help you understand the data you’re seeing.”

As part of the class, Navarrete said, “they’d have us meet with an adviser every two weeks, Then, at the end of the class in late May, they’d have us apply for one of these grants.”

Navarrete said he got the word — and the money — around the end of June.

“Small businesses help Colorado’s economy thrive, and programs like this help support their continued success,” Polis said in a news release. “I am thrilled to announce the 40 grant recipients from every corner of our state from La Plata County to Morgan County. As a businessman, saving small businesses money is a top priority.”

The Digital Marketing and Online Presence training course Navarrete and others took supports small-business owners by teaching them the fundamentals of online marketing, allowing them to promote their products and reach new customers. Business owners learn a variety of ways to establish an online presence, including best practices to increase website traffic, improve user experience and develop e-commerce websites to help their businesses grow.

A total of $200,000 in grant funding was distributed. Among the recipients, 67.5% identified as woman-owned, 45% identified as minority-owned and approximately 22% of business owners came from rural communities.

Representatives from the FoCo Food Truck Rally did not return calls and emails for comment before BizWest’s afternoon deadline Thursday. The rally consists of more than 18 food trucks out of a rotation of 44 that take over Sheldon Drive in Fort Collins’ City Park from 5:30 p.m. until dusk on summer Tuesday evenings through Sept. 19. Each rally features live music.

“We are pleased to support so many women- and minority-owned small businesses across the state,” said OEDIT executive director Eve Lieberman. “This latest round of grant recipients showcases the work we are doing to ensure that we are reaching communities that have historically faced barriers to business funding. We are proud to support our entrepreneurs which have successfully reached so many women and minority owned small businesses.” 

The training course is one of three such programs offered through the Small Business Accelerated Growth Program, which helps small businesses across Colorado grow and improve their business plans through free training, education and consulting. Small businesses can apply for any of the three online training programs. The other two focus on access to capital and market research.

After completing the seven-week training course, 40 participants were selected to receive grant funding to make changes based on strategies learned from the program. The program was created by Senate Bill 21-241, sponsored by state Sens. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, and Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, and Reps. Naquetta Ricks, D-Aurora, and Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada. The program is implemented in partnership with the SBDC network.

Registration for the second round of the Digital Marketing and Online Presence training course is open now through Aug. 20. Eighty participants from the second round of training will be selected to receive Digital Marketing and Online Presence grants of $5,000 each. Interested businesses can learn more about the Small Business Accelerated Growth Program at and sign up to receive email notifications as future rounds open for applications.

Source: BizWest