Business Foundations Technical Assistance Program

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The Business Foundations Technical Assistance program provides technical assistance and small grants to Colorado small businesses to help businesses legally establish themselves. The program includes 3 required training paths for businesses to complete and receive a certification. Once completed, businesses may be eligible to apply for small grants of up to $1,200. 

The 3 training pathways are:

  • Legal Formation and Registration – helps you legally incorporate your business and access the benefits of training programs and grants from local and federal governments
  • Accounting and Finance – helps you create and learn to manage the accounting system for your business to be able to clearly report your company’s financial information to facilitate access to finance necessary to grow your business
  • Digital Marketing and E-commerce – helps you digitize your business to improve client relationships, increase the presence of your brand in the market, and create new opportunities to deliver your products and services

At the end of the 3 training paths, participants will receive a certificate of completion after we review your uploaded documents. This certificate will be valuable as you apply for future programs and funding from our office, such as the Small Business Accelerated Growth program and Startup Loan Fund, to show you meet minimum eligibility requirements. 

The program is currently open for registration in the technical assistance program and grant applications are open for the first 400 eligible businesses to apply. Complete the 3 training paths and application now to be considered for grant funding. 

If you have any questions, please contact us at mbo@state.co.us

Overview

Type: Technical assistance and grant

For: Small businesses

Amount: Up to $1,200 per business, first come first served

Program dates: Rolling

OEDIT division: Minority Business Office

Any Colorado small business can take advantage of this program. This program is intended for small businesses that want to be established legally in Colorado, create their basic accounting system, and incorporate digital tools to improve their reach and customer service.

  1. Register for an account in the online learning system.
  2. You will be directed to start with a questionnaire within the system to tell us a bit about your business. 
  3. Complete all 3 training paths and receive a certificate of completion from the online learning system. If you already have documents to supplement one of the training paths, you will still need to visit the training path, but you may skip to the end and submit your supplemental documentation.
  4. After completing the 3 training paths, you may apply to receive a small grant award of up to $1,200 to reimburse expenses incurred during the training and the installation of an accounting system and digital tools for your business. For example, you may apply to receive a grant to cover the cost of buying or subscribing to an accounting system for your business.

The grant is available to eligible business owners that have completed all 3 paths of the online technical assistance training. We will accept 400 eligible businesses to apply for the grant on a first come, first served basis. We are partnering with the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center to also offer grants to their live program participants. 

This grant may reimburse the expenses you incurred during the technical assistance training modules in this program and reimburse the costs for incorporating a new accounting system or digital tools for your business. The grant is a reimbursement, meaning we will refund your expenses after they are paid. You must include receipts of your expenses dated after you register for this program. Each business may only apply once. The maximum grant amount is $1,200 per business.

 

Documents you will need to provide

To apply for the Business Foundations grant, you will need to prove that you have completed the training for the Legal Pathway, Accounting System Pathway, and Digital Pathway. To do so, we ask that you provide: 

  • Secretary of State registration certificate
  • Employee ID Number (EIN) certificate
  • your business budget sheet
  • your business cash flow sheet
  • your business balance sheet
  • The hyperlink of your business’ website
  • The hyperlink of your business’ Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn 

To avoid delay in processing, please ensure that all documentation is valid and current. Read all of the instructions carefully before you apply. 

How to apply

  1. Complete all 3 training pathways and obtain your Business Foundation certificate from the system
  2. Gather all of your receipts from payments made in each training. If you don't have them yet, prepare the receipts in any electronic format (a photo of the receipt, PDF, etc.). In the grant application module is a “List of Eligible Expenses.” Please review this list before making a purchase to ensure it is an eligible expense.
  3. Access the grant application form by clicking on the grant application lesson in Thinkific. Complete the information requested.
  4. Upload all required reimbursement documents within the grant application. In order to upload the documents in the grant application, you will need to have a Google account. If you are unable to create a Google account or you are having issues with the grant application, please send an email message to mbo@state.co.us.
  5. In the application form, you will need to agree to the State of Colorado Small Dollar Grant Award Terms and Conditions.
  6. Click the blue Submit button on the application. This will officially time stamp your grant application and place it in the queue for review.  

If you have any questions please contact us at mbo@state.co.us with the subject "Business Foundations Grant".

 

Applicants can request reimbursement for the items listed below, not to exceed a total of $1,200 per business.

Eligible expenses

Training platform 

  • Any fees paid to access trainings in the Business Foundations program
  • Training for the business owner (1 training per topic)
  • Approved examples include: 
    • Make It Official! $30
    • E-Commerce Series: Part 1 to 4 $20 each
    • Using Instagram to Promote Your Small Business $20
    • Leveraging LinkedIn for Small Businesses $20
    • Selling online for Beginners – Build Your Online Business $25

Legal Pathway

  • Registration fees paid to the Secretary of State to officially register your business in the State of Colorado 

Accounting Pathway

  • Monthly accounting system costs/fees for up to one year with a maximum of $300 per business
    • Examples include: Quickbooks Online, NetSuite ERP from Oracle, Xero
  • Training and installation costs of the new accounting system
    • Examples include: plan assistance to install the system for your business, QuickStart Plan: $100 includes one hour – One-on-One with Dedicated Consultant to general set up and preferences customized overview and training
  • Accounting system devices costs
    • Bookkeeping services cost allowable for 6 months maximum $100/month up to 6 months 

Digital Pathway

  • Automatic payment system (credit card) devices cost 
    • Examples include: Intuit/Quickbooks, Toast, Clover, USAepay, Square
  • Installation, and monthly cost of online sales platform (up to 1 year)
    • Examples include: Shopify, Square, Amazon subscriptions 
  • Computer for business use purpose with a maximum of $300 per business
  • Branding development including logo design and business brand with a maximum of $500 per business
    • Examples include: graphic designer, business logo 
  • Website improvement costs with a maximum of $500 per business
    • Examples include: design, search engine optimization services, email and website domain
  • Appointment platforms for businesses with a maximum of $300 per business
    • Examples include: Booksy, Calendly

Please note: The business owner must prove that all the expenses requested for reimbursement were incurred after the applicant was already registered in the Business Foundations Program.

Ineligible expenses

  • any expenses that have been purchased before the registration date to the Business Foundations Program
  • expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any other program
  • losses that have been or will be covered under any other program
  • lobbying
  • repayment of debt
  • expenses that do not meet the intent of the program as described in the eligible section
  • expenses that can not be proved with a receipt paid for by the business

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