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 provides 3 training paths and a small reimbursable grant of up to $1,200 per business to help apply the training.

Businesses that are not yet legally established are encouraged to take the Legal Formation and Registration training before taking the other 2 training paths. The 3 training paths 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 training, those who have completed the program will receive a certificate of completion after we are able to review your uploaded documents. This certificate will be valuable as you apply for future programs and funding from our office to show you meet minimum eligibility requirements. 

This program is open for registration. Please read the "How to apply" section below to learn more. 

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

Program dates: Open for registration 

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 establish legally in Colorado, create their basic accounting system, and incorporate digital tools to improve their reach and customer service.

As a part of a pilot program, we will be accepting 50 businesses on a first-come, first-served basis. The process for this program is as follows.

  1. Register for an account in the online learning system.
  2. You will be directed to start with a short short 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, if you complete the Accounting and Finance training, then you may apply to receive a grant to cover the cost of buying accounting software.

This grant is available for business owners that have already completed the online technical assistance training. In this pilot round, we will accept 50 businesses on a first come, first served basis. We are partnering with the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center to also offer grants to their program participants

Businesses may apply for reimbursement of expenses they incurred during their technical assistance training modules in this program and apply for reimbursement of costs for incorporating a new accounting system and digital tools for your business. The grant is a reimbursement, meaning we will refund your expenses after they are paid. 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 Program 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
  • State Tax ID Number, if applicable
  • Other states business licenses, if applicable
  • Colorado Self Service System registration
  • your business budget sheet
  • your business cash flow sheet
  • your business balance sheet

To avoid delay in processing, please ensure that all documentation is valid and current. To check if your EIN and/or State Tax ID are accurate, contact the IRS. Colorado Self Service System registration can be completed on the ColoradoVSS webpage. State business licenses will need to be checked with the issuing party.

How to apply

  1. Gather all of your receipts from payments made for each training. If you don't have them yet, prepare the receipts in any electronic format (a photo of the receipt, PDF, etc.).
  2. Access the Grant application form by clicking on the grant application lesson in Thinkific. Complete the information requested.
  3. All required reimbursement documents will be uploaded within the grant application. In order to upload the documents in the grant application, the user will need to have a Google account. If you are unable to create a Google account or having issues with the grant application, please send an email message to mbo@state.co.us.
  4. In the application form, you will need to agree to the State of Colorado Small Dollar Grant Award Terms and Conditions.
  5. Click the blue Submit button on the application. This will officially time stamp your grant application and place it in the queue for review.  

In order to receive the grant, you will need to register in the Colorado Self Service System. Step-by-step instructions are included in the Legal Formation and Registration Pathway in Thinkific. After completing the registration in the Colorado Self Service system, please follow these steps:

  1. Complete the domestic vendors W9 Form State Substitute W-9 4_1 5
  2. Complete the OEDIT EFT Authorization Form
  3. Obtain a voided check from your business
  4. Obtain a certificate of good standing with the Secretary of State
  5. Obtain one of the following types of identification documents:
    • Valid Colorado driver’s License or a Colorado identification card issued by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
    • Valid US passport
    • US Military Identification card OR Military Dependent’s Military ID card
    • United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card
    • Native American Tribal Identification Document
    • Valid Foreign Passport with Photo AND valid US Visa AND I‐94
    • Certificate of Citizenship with photo (less than 20 years old)
    • Valid Employee Authorization Document/Temporary Resident
    • Refugee/Asylee I‐94 with photo
    • Valid I‐551 permanent resident card

Please be aware that the VSS registration, the EFT authorization form, the Secretary of State registration certificate, and the business bank account NEED to have the same business address registered. The grant will not be processed if this information is incorrect.

Upload all required reimbursement documents within your grant application form to complete your reimbursement grant application.

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 training included 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 1 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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