Colorado Enterprise Fund celebrates 40 years supporting Colorado's small businesses

Thursday March 3, 2016 0 comments Tags: Denver, Colorado Enterprise Fund, Ceyl Prinster


DENVER -- Colorado Enterprise Fund  (CEF) is celebrating its 40th anniversary of making a positive impact in Colorado’s economy by supporting small businesses in local communities.

As a nonprofit lending institution for Colorado small businesses unable to get traditional bank financing, Colorado Enterprise Fund supports economic development in Colorado through small business growth. For 40 years, Colorado Enterprise Fund said it has been helping people realize their dreams of starting and growing their own businesses.Colorado_Enterprise_Fund_logoUSE

“We lend more than just money,” said Ceyl Prinster, CEF president and CEO. “We provide our borrowers with one-on-one business training and coaching to help them succeed. And when our borrowers succeed, our local communities grow and thrive.”

Colorado has an entrepreneurial culture that depends on small businesses for its economic health and employment, with small businesses making up 98% of employers in Colorado. By offering flexible financing options, personalized customer service, one-on-one business advising, and access to entrepreneurial resources statewide, Colorado Enterprise Fund has grown to offer loans up to $500,000.

In 2015 alone, CEF loaned more than $7.1 million to nearly 200 small businesses.

In 1976, Colorado Enterprise Fund processed its first loan using a new Small Business Administration (SBA) Pilot Loan Program designed to support the rehabilitation of deteriorating urban centers. The organization, then known as the Greater Denver Local Development Corporation, loaned Mountain High Yoghurt the capital to renovate a dilapidated dairy facility in downtown Denver.

In 1982, Colorado Enterprise Fund became more than a pass-through organization for SBA loans. Thanks to a generous grant from the Piton Foundation, it now had more flexibility to meet the needs of the community as an independent loan fund. The organization continued to evolve as a financially sound and strategic lender, expanding its loan services from Denver to the entire Front Range.

An impressive track record and increased credibility created more opportunities for Colorado Enterprise Fund to grow, such as being selected as one of 35 organizations nationwide to administer the SBA Microloan Program in 1992, as well as attracting a growing number of public and private funding partners.

In 1996, Colorado Enterprise Fund was selected by the US Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund’s competitive national funding program.

This elevated Colorado Enterprise Fund to its status today as a local and national leader in community development finance with a commitment to economic development reflected in its accomplishments:

  • Provided 1,800 loans totaling over $49 million in startup and growth capital with 77 percent of loans supporting women-, minority- and low-income-owned businesses 

  • Helped to create or retain over 14,500 Colorado jobs as a result of its loan deployment 

  • As of 2015, allocated 37 percent of its loans to startup businesses 

  • Received the 2014 Top Company Nonprofit of the Year Award from Colorado Biz 

  • Recognized in 2015 as U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Community/Rural Lender 
of the Year 

“This organization brought much-needed economic development initially to Denver, and then to the rest of Colorado,” said Prinster. “It was an opportunity to help Colorado communities find and develop their economic strength. Small business is big business in Colorado, and Colorado Enterprise Fund has been part of making small business growth possible.”