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Colorado Enterprise Fund turns 40

Events are planned all year to celebrate

ColoradoBiz Staff //March 4, 2016//

Colorado Enterprise Fund turns 40

Events are planned all year to celebrate

ColoradoBiz Staff //March 4, 2016//

Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is celebrating its 40th anniversary of making a positive impact in Colorado’s economy by supporting small businesses in local communities. As a nonprofit lending institution for Colorado small businesses unable to get traditional bank financing, Colorado Enterprise Fund supports economic development in Colorado through small business growth.

For 40 years, Colorado Enterprise Fund has been helping people realize their dreams of starting and growing their own businesses.

“We lend more than just money,” Colorado Enterprise Fund President and CEO Ceyl Prinster says. “We provide our borrowers with one-on-one business training and coaching to help them succeed. And when our borrowers succeed, our local communities grow and thrive.”

Colorado has an entrepreneurial culture that depends on small businesses for its economic health and employment, with small businesses making up 98 percent of employers in Colorado. By offering flexible financing options, personalized customer service, one-on-one business advising, and access to entrepreneurial resources statewide, Colorado Enterprise Fund has grown to offer loans up to $500,000. In 2015 alone, CEF loaned more than $7.1 million to nearly 200 small businesses.

In 1976, Colorado Enterprise Fund processed its first loan using a new Small Business Administration (SBA) Pilot Loan Program designed to support the rehabilitation of deteriorating urban centers. The organization, then known as the Greater Denver Local Development Corporation, loaned Mountain High Yoghurt the capital to renovate a dilapidated dairy facility in downtown Denver. In 1982, Colorado Enterprise Fund became more than a pass-through organization for SBA loans. Thanks to a generous grant from the Piton Foundation, it now had more flexibility to meet the needs of the community as an independent loan fund.

The organization continued to evolve as a financially sound and strategic lender, expanding its loan services from Denver to the entire Front Range.

An impressive track record and increased credibility created more opportunities for Colorado Enterprise Fund to grow, such as being selected as one of 35 organizations nationwide to administer the SBA Microloan Program in 1992, as well as attracting a growing number of public and private funding partners.

In 1996, Colorado Enterprise Fund was selected by the US Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund’s competitive national funding program. This elevated Colorado Enterprise Fund to its status today as a local and national
leader in community development finance with a commitment to economic development reflected in its accomplishments:

• Provided 1,800 loans totaling over $49 million in start-up and growth capital with 77 of loans supporting women-, minority- and low-income owned businesses
• Helped to create or retain over 14,500 Colorado jobs as a result of its loan deployment • As of 2015, allocated 37 percent of its loans to start-up businesses
• Received the 2014 Top Company Nonprofit of the Year Award from ColoradoBiz magazine
• Recognized in 2015 as U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Community/Rural Lender of the Year

Throughout 2016, Colorado Enterprise Fund will be involved in several entrepreneurial and small business events along the Front Range to celebrate its 40 years of impact. These include ColoradoBiz magazine’s Top 100 Women-Owned Companies Reception (June 16) honoring the top producing businesses owned by women.

Other noteworthy events and celebrations throughout the year include:

40 Success Stories in 40 Weeks
Throughout 2016, CEF is hosting a social media campaign entitled “40 Success Stories in 40 Weeks.” The campaign, which launched Jan. 11 and will run through October, highlights success stories and milestones of CEF borrowers over the years and features the positive impacts their businesses have made in their respective communities. Read some of the success stories of Colorado Enterprise Fund borrowers across the state. To see prior and upcoming “40 Success Stories in 40 Weeks” posts, find CEF on Facebook, LinkedIn and follow the organization on Twitter @COEnterpriseFnd ( using hashtag #CEF40stories40weeks.

National Small Business Week (May 2–6)
Colorado Enterprise Fund is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) on their National Small Business Week event in Denver this year. Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. As part of National Small Business Week (May 2–6), the SBA takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners who are working hard to grow, create jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. Denver
was chosen as one of four cities nationwide to host SBA Administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet, during National Small Business Week in 2016. Colorado Enterprise Fund will be partnering with the SBA Denver District office on its special awards event on May 4. Details of the event are to be announced.

Denver Metro Borrowers Event (August)
Colorado Enterprise Fund’s borrowers will have the opportunity to come together to share their successes and connect with others during this annual borrower appreciation event.

40th Anniversary Gala (October)
Colorado Enterprise Fund will host a 40th Anniversary Gala to celebrate its legacy of impact. Details on the event are forthcoming and will include recognition of key people and accomplishments in the organization’s history as well as a noted guest speaker For more information on CEF 40th anniversary events, news and borrower success stories, visit:

About Colorado Enterprise Fund
Founded in1976, Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides loans up to $500,000 to finance small businesses and start-ups unable to obtain funding through traditional banks. With a mission to accelerate community prosperity by financing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, CEF has financed more than 1,800 businesses with over $49 million in start-up and growth capital, and created or retained over 14,000 jobs in the state. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CEF is based in Denver with lending services available statewide. For more information, visit: