New Award Helps Small Businesses Go Online

Dec 04, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that rural businesses can no longer afford to be absent online, the ability to develop a digital strategy remains elusive for many owners. That’s why the First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) is partnering with Startup Colorado and the Southwest Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to launch a Technology Innovation Awards program in Region 9. 

The program builds upon the success of a similar awards program in the San Luis Valley, that recognized 14 small business owners with a total of $15,000.

Earlier in November, FSWCF, Startup Colorado and Southwest SBDC awarded 7 businesses across Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties with grants up to $1000. 

FSWCF, Southwest SBDC and SUCO partnered with two media & technology companies to offer this program, BOLDBrew and BCI Media. These companies are offering discounted services to the awardees to achieve business goals of a new website, a social media strategy or an online platform. To be eligible for the award program, business owners had to attend at least one workshop from the SBDC ECommerce Webinar Series.

Caprice Fox, owner of Create Art & Tea in Durango, is one recipient of the Tech Innovation Awards. 

“Thank you for providing such a wonderful opportunity for small businesses to improve or shift online.  This is certainly a practical and relevant way to support business in our community - they are a vibrant and essential part of any community.  I appreciate the creativity of this offering.  The classes the SBDC hosted in connection to this Award were fantastic," said Kristen Carico from Power to Act.

Awarded businesses include the businesses below. Projects ranged from creating an online store for local art, developing online courses, social media strategies and building online market-places:

“It was very rewarding to partner with Startup Colorado and First Southwest Community Fund on our E-Commerce series to be able to create a new level of business assistance that we typically can’t offer… grants! It has been exciting to see the hard work and creativity come out of these businesses as they have started to pivot their business to online. I can’t wait to see how these businesses utilize these awards to grow their business and continue to put Southwest Colorado entrepreneurs on the map!”, said Hannah Birdsong Fetters, Program Manager of the Southwest Colorado SBDC.

We can’t wait to see the results.

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