Small businesses play a key role in supporting our local economies, employing 1.1 million workers in Colorado, nearly 50% of the workforce. But with COVID-19 stretching companies thin, their survival is increasingly on the line. Research indicates that three-quarters of businesses don’t have enough cash on hand to cover two months of expenses, a reserve that’s being put to the test as many small businesses revenue has cratered during the pandemic.

No-cost workshops and additional resources supported by $200k Larimer County grant

To help local business owners and operators navigate this altered landscape and avoid permanent closure, CSU’s College of Business is launching Pivot Larimer County, a suite of free, faculty-led, workshops and video resources made possible by a $200,000 grant from Larimer County. The County received funding to provide this grant, as well as other programs to support the community, through the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Although the full impact of the pandemic remains unknown, what is clear is that businesses are facing a complex set of immediate problems and long-term market shifts.

Pivot Larimer Country will provide local business leaders with the skills to be resilient and navigate whatever changes may be on the horizon. This will increase the odds that they’ll not only be able to make it through to the other side of the crisis and continue contributing to the local economy, but that they’ll emerge with new strategies to support their sustained success.

“The day-to-day effort to run a successful business is challenging as it is, without the uncertainty we have seen recently,” said Rob Mitchell, an associate professor of management in the College of Business who is helping teach the Pivot Jumpstart workshop. “And while 2020 has brought unprecedented change, the need to adapt to change is not new in business—but such an ability to adapt is especially helpful in the face of all of this.”

By completing the in-depth, four-part workshop series, business owners and managers will develop a greater understanding of their customers, how to create value, explore new revenue streams, re-position their business based on market conditions, and how to make a successful exit.

Supporting local business owners and entrepreneurs

“Supporting our local business owners and entrepreneurs creates a rich ecosystem for all organizations to thrive, especially during difficult times,” said Arthur Sintas, the community impact manager for the CSU College of Business Institute for Entrepreneurship, which is facilitating Pivot Larimer County.

“We hope those who participate in Pivot Larimer County will begin to build lasting relationships with CSU and take advantage of all of the free services our Institute provides as we work to eliminate the barriers people can face pursuing entrepreneurship,” Sintas said.

The College of Business can support up to 200 Larimer County businesses through the live Pivot Jumpstart workshops, with the first month-long cohort kicking off on Nov. 20 and the following three cohorts continuing into the spring. An online experience will also be developed to allow additional businesses to complete the workshop virtually and at their own pace.

The workshops will connect CSU College of Business faculty, industry experts, and local business leaders together in the classroom through a blend of socially distant, in-person programming and live video collaboration.

In addition to the grant from Larimer County, the CSU College of Businesses efforts are supported by partnerships with the City of Fort CollinsLarimer County Small Business Development CenterThe Warehouse Business Accelerator, and Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce.

Those who take part in the Pivot Larimer County workshops will also be eligible to receive scholarships to enroll in two-day College of Business Executive Education courses covering topics like professional selling, marketing and data analytics, disruptive technology and more.

Register now

Registration for the Pivot Jumpstart workshop series is now available online.

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