Entrepreneurs can be the driving force in a local economy, especially ones that have been hit by large company closures and relocations.  Entrepreneurs can create jobs, invest in the community, improve the quality of life, and assist communities with competing in a regional, national and global economy.  The Certified Small Business Community Program is a Colorado SBDC Network and Blueprint 2.0 offering that assists rural communities in taking their entrepreneurship promotion and retention to the next level and be a standard bearer for the State of Colorado.  Selected communities receive a designation of a “Certified Small Business Community” to promote a great place to “Work, Live and Play” on Colorado.

Selected rural communities need to have a defined sense of place or niche that sets them apart and have a concentration of entrepreneurship.  They need to be actively engaged in the promotion and retention of small businesses.  The communities need to have an action plan based on their vision for success.  Through this program the community will have developed a clear strategic growth plan to diversify its local/regional economy through the promotion of entrepreneurship.

The Certified Small Business Community Program is another tool to help rural Colorado communities compete on a larger stage and still preserve their small-town appeal.  Winners are selected through a competitive application process.  The program is part of a cooperative initiative between the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network and the Colorado Economic Development Commission.

2017 Certified Small Business Communities

City of Fruita

Why Fruita? Fruita is a community of choice. People from all over the world choose Fruita for a variety of reasons. Living in Fruita means your menu of things to do is packed with a variety of choices. Ride your bike across the Colorado National Monument and discover amazing views of monoliths, big horn sheep and the entire valley.

Walk where dinosaurs once roamed and see their tracks and bones. Hike in the second highest concentration of arches outside Arches National Park. Saddle your horse and enjoy the peace of miles of trails among the wild desert flowers and old mines. Ride your cruiser bike downtown and take in a Thursday night concert in the park or shop fresh, locally grown produce at the Farmers’ Market. Demo the top new mountain bikes all weekend long during the Fat Tire Festival. Ride your mountain bike on world famous single track trails only minutes away from your home before work, during lunch or after work. Discover an endless array of landscapes to trail run.

Experience Mike the Headless Chicken Festival – you have to be there to understand, or any of the 30+ events each year. Push yourself in a cycling, total body or yoga class at the recreation center and come back later for a swim, all year long. Children love the rock climbing wall, lazy river or zero entry swim/play area. Take in more than 240 days of sun each year. Choose from multiple music venues every week while having a local craft beer and/or specialty food at a local eatery. Spend an evening at the Rim Rock Rodeo or another outdoor concert at Fruita’s James M. Robb State Park.

Step back in time while your kids walk or ride their bikes to excellent schools on the paved trail system connecting neighborhoods and schools. Raft the Colorado River, Golf at Adobe Creek National Golf Course or throw a disc at one of two local disc golf courses. Pump the track at the the Fruita Bike Park. Choices are in abundance in Fruita and the list goes on. Fruita quality of life is unique, authentic and off the charts.

Most of all it’s the familiar faces you will see while watching your kids in youth sports or shopping for groceries, who make you feel right at home and part of a real community. Evening walks amidst the laughter of children playing and neighbors chatting while the sun sets among the backdrop of the Bookcliffs or National Monument. When you choose Fruita, you love where you live.

Lincoln County

Lincoln County, Colorado is the 8th largest county, in terms of square miles, among 64 Colorado counties. The county’s economy has traditionally been almost strictly agriculture based, but now is shared among the industries of energy (both green and traditional), transportation (6 highway corridors and 2 railroads), education, correctional industries, and transportation services. With a population of just 5,430 people, Lincoln County offers both room to grow and a small community environment. The best part is that the county sits just an hour’s drive east of the busy Front Range of Colorado. A full range of business services including an active local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office and local economic development efforts keep the local economy active and growing.

As Colorado grows in both population and transportation volume, Lincoln County has a great deal to offer. The county is currently in conversation with several industries looking to use the area for warehousing and distribution services. Dispatching trucks for an hour’s congestion-free drive, appeals to the distribution sector and the county looks forward to accommodating this function. Lincoln County is also home to a host of sites that have commercial rail access. Sites in Limon and Hugo feature Union Pacific siding, and the smaller communities of Fenoa and Arriba offer siding for the short-line Kyle Railroad, a division of Genesse and Wyoming Inc. There are options in Limon to access both rail lines, where the two railroads interchange. The county enjoys active freight shipment activity, and the resident railroads are always searching for more freight!

The local education system and heritage community all lend towards a great quality of life in Lincoln County. The rural, safe schools in Limon and Hugo have recently been rebuilt as part of the state’s BEST grant system, and Morgan Community College maintains concurrent enrollment for our youth wanting to get a jump start on their post-secondary education. The Limon Heritage Society, Hugo Roundhouse Preservation, and the Genoa Wonder View Tower all boast treasured assets from the railroad days of the past, and chronicle an outstanding story of how Lincoln County was founded and has grown.

Lincoln County is home to families and retirees alike. A robust set of local health services are available throughout the county via the Lincoln Community Hospital and Care Center. This fine organization boasts leading-edge medical technology second-to-none, along with all modes of assisted living to full nursing care. The relative low cost of living, coupled with pristine air quality, safe neighborhoods, and close-knit communities make it a great place to call home.

Prowers County

Prowers County represents rural life at its finest. The wholesome vitality of our friendly, attractive communities reflects the diversity of our agricultural and cultural heritage coupled with the opportunities of modern technology, and exportation of renewable energy.

The City of Lamar, the county seat of Prowers County, serves as the industrial and retail center for Southeastern Colorado. Located in the fertile Arkansas River Valley, the surrounding agricultural landscape features wide-open spaces with panoramic views of irrigated corn and alfalfa fields, as well as dryland wheat fields. This semi-arid climate is favorable to livestock production and offers an average or 340 days of sunshine annually. Communities within Prowers County are known for their hometown friendliness and character, and offer many incentives for those relocating businesses and homes.

Visitors and guests can find a variety of recreational activities, historically significant sites and western traditions to visit or attend year-round in Prowers County. Many fine restaurants and places to stay afford comfort and convenience.

Colorado Green (Shell Wind Energy) Wind Farm is located south of Lamar in Prowers County. Xcel Energy purchases the energy created from Colorado Green and Prairie Wind Energy and converts it at the AC/DC Electricity Converter Station in northern Prowers County. This is one of seven such transfer stations located along the nation’s heartland.

The entire region of Prowers County and Southeastern Colorado is connected with high-speed, redundant fiber optic networks providing T-1, DS-3 and OC-3+ speeds. Come see why Prowers County makes a great home for you and your business.

Rio Blanco County

Located in Northwest Colorado, Rio Blanco County is home to the communities of Meeker and Rangely. Rio Blanco, the Spanish name for the White River, represents the river that runs through Rio Blanco County. Over 75% of Rio Blanco County is managed by US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the State of Colorado. The massive amount of public lands offers many opportunities to Rio Blanco County residents, business owners and visitors, and features the Flat Tops Wilderness, White River National Forest, Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway, Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway National Scenic Byway, Canyon Pintado National Historic District, and access to the Dinosaur National Monument.

Visitors can explore world class hiking, biking, and motorized recreational trails. Limitless fishing and water activities can be fond on one of the many streams, lakes, reservoirs, White River and Kenny Reservoir. Rangely is home to the only natural rock crawling park in Colorado, which tests driving, mechanical and technical skills or drivers from across the country. Additional recreation offerings include hunting, fishing, searching for ancient rock art sites, exploring the comprehensive selection of rural school buildings sites, snowmobiling, dog sled racing, and more. Rio Blanco County is your year-round destination for tourism, business and residency.

Rio Blanco County is the sixth largest county in Colorado, in terms of land size, featuring 3,226 square miles. Rio Blanco County has a population of approximately 6,700 residents, which equates to approximately 2 people per square mile. The primary industries of Rio Blanco County include natural resource extraction, outdoor recreation, government, construction and accommodation and food service. Colorado Northwestern Community College’s primary campus is located in Rangely, providing higher education services for college students and many opportunities for partnership with the business community.

Rio Blanco County is proud to be the first rural county in Colorado providing 1GB broadband service, featuring “fiber to the door” throughout Meeker and Rangely, with “Google Standard” pricing of $70/month for 1GB service. Rural residents enjoy a microwave broadband solution with speeds up to 25 mbps. The broadband capabilities found in Rio Blanco County exceed that of many metropolitan areas, allowing residents and business owners to have access to greater opportunity and markets while enjoying the lifestyle found in a small community.

Rio Blanco County offers residents the fifth lowest County mill levy property tax rate in Colorado, nearly 80% lower than the highest County mill levy rate in Colorado. Even with the decreased tax rates, Rio Blanco County has seen significant investment in public and private facilities. Rio Blanco County recently completed construction projects at the Rio Blanco County Justice Center, historic Courthouse, fairgrounds, multiple office locations, completed the construction of an unprecedented rural fiber broadband system, and numerous capital investments have been made in many commercial properties by private entities.

Rio Blanco County is home to families and retirees alike. With just tow communities in the county, located 60 miles apart, each community has made great investments in providing residents with state of the art facilities. Both communities have updated healthcare facilities built within the last five years; Pioneer Medical Center in 2015 and Rangely District Hospital in 2013. Recreation Centers with indoor pools, fitness rooms, and fitness classes and program offerings serve both communities. There are two school districts located in the County, and a Community College with a campus in Rangely and a satellite office in Meeker, who value education and make numerous investments in the youth of Rio Blanco County. This is vital in retaining residents in the hope that our youth will return to the communities and raise families of their own someday.

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