Poudre Libraries + Larimer SBDC Honored with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2024 Colorado District Director’s Diamond Award

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Poudre Libraries and the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) have been recognized for their leadership with the first ever collaboration cohort between Colorado and Wyoming for the T.H.R.I.V.E Emerging Leaders Reimagined program. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) awarded the two organizations with the Colorado District Director’s Diamond Award for their efforts to help small business owners gain the knowledge, skills, and resources to accelerate business growth.

The Colorado District Director’s Diamond Award is presented to an individual or organization that has partnered with their district office to significantly assist entrepreneurs through advocacy.

“Poudre Libraries and Larimer SBDC share a long history of working together to support local small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups,” said Diane Lapierre, Poudre Libraries Executive Director. “This is wonderful recognition of how important this collaboration is for our entire business community.”

“Small businesses are the fabric of our vibrant community and when we partner, we can provide more resources for them to grow, sustain and scale their efforts,” said Hope Hartman, Larimer SBDC Executive Director.

The T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined program is entrepreneurship education and training for executives of high-potential, small companies. The intensive executive entrepreneurship series offers opportunities for small business owners to work with professional coaches and mentors, gain skills needed to grow, and develop connections with peers, local leaders, and the financial community.

Poudre Libraries and Larimer SBDC worked together to manage the 2023 Colorado/Wyoming T.H.R.I.V.E. cohort, which included 25 participants from a variety of industries including finance, property management consulting, and digital marketing.

Each partner contributed their expertise and resources to the educational program. Larimer SBDC supplemented the curriculum by making additional consultation on a variety of business topics available. In addition, they provided complementary classes and workshops that coincided with the curriculum as well as relevant resource referrals throughout the 6-month program. Poudre Libraries’ business and nonprofit librarian, Amada Simental, who also consults with the SBDC, assisted with industry research and market analysis using library resources. Cohort sessions were held onsite at Harmony Library at Front Range Community College.

“The T.H.R.I.V.E. program was of great value to me; it provided me with the energy and resources necessary to take my business to the next level,” said Roxana Toledo, owner of WE Solutions, and a participant in the 2023 Colorado/ Wyoming cohort. “Working with [Poudre Libraries and Larimer SBDC] gave me a sense of confidence that the decisions we wanted to take with the business were based on facts and research and not only on gut feeling. As a business owner, sometimes the research and findings backed up my instinct and at other times, research contradicted my theories and pointed other ways that led to creativity and change.”

To learn more about the T.H.R.I.V.E. Emerging Leaders Reimagined program, visit SBAThrive.com.

About Larimer Small Business Development Center

Since 1989, the Larimer Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC) has been dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and businesses start, grow, and prosper through street-smart business education and assistance throughout Larimer County. In the last decade, Larimer SBDC has worked with over 4,250 businesses in Larimer County. In just the past two years, the Center produced 202 workshops and events with over 2,252 attendees. Our team provided over 8,500 hours of free one-on-one business consulting to over 1,800 businesses and entrepreneurs. Those businesses created and retained over 1,500 jobs, infused over $23 million of capital, reported sales increases of $33 million, and helped 99 local businesses get started!

About Poudre Libraries

Poudre River Public Library District was established in 2006 by voter approval. The District’s shared resources serve more than 210,000 people across a vast 1,800 square-mile region in northern Larimer County, Colorado. Anchored by three libraries in Fort Collins and a robust Community Outreach Department, the District is dedicated to meeting diverse communities’ needs, interests, and priorities with exceptional opportunities for learning and personal enjoyment. In all its endeavors, the District aims to enrich the cultural, educational, and economic life of the growing area which it serves. For more information, visit PoudreLibraries.org or call (970) 221-6740.

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