Program puts out the Weld welcome mat

In January, Weld County commissioners initiated a Small Business Incentive Program to be managed by county planning director Tom Parko. It was designed to provide small businesses financial assistance to offset upfront capital outlay, including land use, building permit and impact fees. Commissioner Sean Conway shared how they chose the criteria for the incentive and who they’re hoping to help.

Question: What are the intended goals of the Small Business Incentive Program?

Answer: The goal is to encourage existing small businesses in Weld County to expand, as well as attract individuals who
might be starting a new small business to locate in Weld County.

Q: Where did the money for the program come from?

A: The half-million dollars for the program came from Weld County’s economic development fund, which is funded through uncollected tax refunds and abatements the county has granted to companies over the last decade that were not collected.

Q: Why are small businesses the “backbone” of the Weld economy?

A: Small business is the backbone of our economy because they create more than 80 percent of all of the new jobs. To have a strong economy, you have to have a strong small-business sector.

Q: What has been the reaction to the program since announcing it in January? Have you had any applicants?

A: Response has been extremely positive. We have had already 25 small businesses and individuals apply and fielded numerous phone calls about the program from all over Colorado.

Q: How did you decide on the criteria for what constitutes a small business?

A: The criteria was developed by the Board of County Commissioners and our Planning Department based on specific small businesses which had come to Weld County or already existed in the county and visited with us about what kind of assistance could encourage more small-business growth in Weld County. We wanted to develop a program aimed at small businesses and their needs.

Q: One of the criteria is that 50 percent of the workforce come from Weld. Why not encourage business owners to attract outside talent and their families to relocate to Weld instead?

A: We believe we are already attracting people to live in Weld County by having the lowest mil-levy in Northern Colorado, great quality of life, and being the only county in the nation with no short-term debt, long-term debt or sales tax. The fact that Weld County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state and will become the largest county in Northern Colorado within the next decade proves those policies are working.

Q. How do you plan to promote the program and educate the Weld population about what it offers?

A: We will be promoting the program through the Small Business Development Centers, local Chamber of Commerce and Upstate Development through our revolving loan fund program. In addition, the Board of Commissioners will be taking to the road and making presentations to service clubs and community events to promote the program.


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