OEDIT and Region Nine receive National Economic Development Award for Microloan Program

DENVER -- The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado have been recognized by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) with an Impact Award for the Colorado Microloans Program.

The Microloan Program, funded by the Colorado Economic Development Commission and OEDIT, provided grants to non-profit lenders to provide small, character-based loans to start-ups and entrepreneurial small businesses that are underserved by traditional lending markets. The program is designed to promote adequate access to capital to entrepreneurial small businesses that may not be eligible for other government programs or nonprofit lenders. The program focuses on rural areas and to underserved communities.

“The Colorado Microloan program is an innovative and thought-leading tool to help our rural and underserved businesses join in Colorado’s economic recovery,” said OEDIT Executive Director Betsy Markey. 

Jeff Kraft, Director of Business Funding and Incentives at OEDIT added, “Character-based lending leverages long-successful models for supporting local small businesses  It’s critical that our underserved are not left behind and the Colorado Microloans Program helps address this issue.”
NADO’s Impact Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities.  

The Region 9 award recognizes the OEDIT’s partnership with rural Colorado for the pilot loan program that has resulted in an impact of $1.65 million being distributed in 30 rural counties over the last 3 years.  Region 9 worked through a long established group of partner regional loan funds around Colorado to make loans to rural businesses across the state. 

“OEDIT established this program to bring additional business capital into rural areas of Colorado, pre COVID, and to-date, we have made 60 micro loans in rural areas statewide to fill finance gaps for our start-up and high character businesses that might not be bankable,”  said Laura Lewis Marchino, Executive Director of Region 9. “Region 9 is honored to be administering this program for OEDIT in our rural counties.” 

The Colorado Microloan Fund through Region 9 has leveraged and additional $2.5 million and created and retained 210 jobs. The program also serves multiple counties in south western Colorado through the First Southwest Community Fund and the Front Range through nonprofit lender,Colorado Lending Source.

The program was originally built by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs through its Community Development Block Grants. 

NADO is a Washington, DC-based association of regional development organizations that promote programs and policies to strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies.