We believe small businesses are the lifeblood of our community. When local businesses thrive, the entire neighborhood can thrive. That’s why we’re working to strengthen local businesses across Metro Denver.
Our United for Business program connects women- and minority-owned business owners to capital, training opportunities and free one-on-one consulting services to help owners reach their goals.
United for Business helps family-owned businesses find financial stability and achieve growth, while also building greater equity and strengthening under-resourced neighborhoods.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we adapted the program to meet emerging needs, advising owners on how to apply for financial assistance, adapt their business practices to evolving COVID-19 requirements and negotiate with their landlords. Clients like Brittney and Joslyn, owners of FIT & NU, and Tonya, owner of Rent-A-Theme Entertainment, understand first-hand the pandemic’s impact on small businesses.
“I was facing bankruptcy at one point. I just searched ‘business mentor and partnership,’ and Mile High [United Way] came up. I thought, ‘Okay, let me try.’ I emailed and someone responded right away … They’ve given me so much support and so much hope as far as just continuing and being able to pivot a little bit more,” Tonya said.
Looking Ahead: A More Holistic and Long-term Approach to Small Business Support
This year, we are launching new initiatives and events to support capacity building through intensive skills-development.
We are continuing our Website Build Initiative, providing services to businesses, with a goal of completing 20 websites by the end of June. The initiative provides website design, website hosting fees for up to six months, two digital marketing workshops and 60 days of business consulting with our business advisors.
United for Business also is hosting a range of small business workshops, including the Small Business Loans Workshop, Certification Workshop in partnership with Denver Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO), Small Business Tax Preparation in partnership with Alianza Business Assistance Center and EZ Tax Denver. Staff are also collaborating with the Alianza Business Assistance Center in Thornton to support businesses and on-site consulting for business owners once a week.
This May, we’re excited to support the Building Success Accelerator program in partnership with the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce and the University of Denver. This 14-week, curriculum-based program will provide capacity building, access to capital and access to network services to a cohort of 20 businesses.
Finally, our THRIVE Small Business Summit in April will provide an opportunity for small business owners and entrepreneurs to refine their skills and build the network needed for a thriving business.
“The United for Business team is excited by the new ways we’re reaching the community. Through strategic partnerships with agencies like DEDO and the Alliance Business Center, we can effectively address small business owners’ needs and connect them to the support they need to thrive,” said Portia Washington, United for Business program director.
In total, the Website Build Initiative has provided digital marketing training and support for nearly 40 businesses in recent years. Sabe is one such client.
Mile High United Way’s United for Business program is powered by Wells Fargo. Thank you for investing in our small business community. We are also grateful to Bank of America, Western Union, Comcast, and all our United for Business supporters.
Mile High United Way’s United for Business program operates alongside a network of skills-based volunteers that help business owners reach their growth potential. If you are an entrepreneur, CPA, financial advisor, marketer, data analyst, grant writer, real estate agent or have other business expertise and are interested in donating your time and talent, contact UFB@unitedwaydenver.org to learn more about becoming a United for Business volunteer.