Friday October 17, 2014 0 comments
By Steve Porter
The University of Northern Colorado, along with the East Colorado Small Business Development Center and some partner higher education institutions, have found an innovative way to provide virtual incubator services to small businesses spread across the wide expanse of Northeastern Colorado.
On Oct. 14, the new UNC BizHub Collaborative was officially launched with the ambitious goal of providing business services across a 13-county region.
While the UNC BizHub will still have an actual office at 807 17th St. in Greeley, it will also supply business consulting, planning, branding, financial and other services to startup and existing small businesses in Logan and Sedgwick and Phillips and another 10 counties that are home to the rural prairie communities of Northeast Colorado.
And it will do that without forcing business owners to drive long distances to Greeley. It will do it with technology that lets business people and advisers have virtual sit-down exchanges, and through on-site visits to the 25 SBDC offices conveniently located across the 13-county region.
Under the arrangement struck between UNC and East Colorado SBDC, SBDC staffers in those offices will act as local representatives of UNC BizHub, bringing BizHub services to the state's northeast corner.
Dick Pickett, executive director of East Colorado SBDC and now also executive director of UNC BizHub Collaborative, said the partnership is a big win for business in NE Colorado.
"This is going to offer a huge opportunity to offer services to a lot more people," Pickett said at the UNC BizHub Collaborative launch. "This is a true collaborative effort to make the whole much stronger than the parts."
We agree, and applaud those who came up with the idea to combine UNC's mission to assist Colorado residents through education and outreach with help from the ubiquitous SBDC network.
We hope the collaborative will succeed when it fires up its full services in January, and we also hope it may be emulated as a model for other far-flung parts of our state.
Not everything is happening along the Front Range, and businesses and startups all across Colorado should have the best access they can to the services that can help them grow, thrive and provide jobs and economic opportunity to our citizens.