Entrepreneurs / Small Business  May 7, 2010

Chambers moving region forward

2010 Bravo! Entrepreneur – Regional Spirit

At the Northern Colorado Business Report, we have always endorsed a regional approach to business issues and are pleased this year to recognize the largest chambers of commerce in Larimer and Weld counties for their efforts to bring their individual memberships closer together.

The chambers’ leaders — David L. May, president and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber; Sarah MacQuiddy, president of the Greeley Chamber; and Brian Willms, president of the Loveland Chamber — have worked together to create a joint initiative designed to build human capacity and address issues facing the region. In December, with the support of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the Community Foundation Serving Greeley and Weld County, the chambers cooperatively launched Leadership Northern Colorado.

“Northern Colorado is morphing into an area with regional potential, population and challenges,” according to the Leadership NoCo website. “Leadership with a regional perspective will be essential for a positive vision of our future.”

The six-month program focuses on regional issues, regionalism and regional leadership skills, designed to educate and motivate leaders committed to shaping Northern Colorado.

Leadership Northern Colorado builds on the success of the chambers’ separate leadership development programs and is off to a promising start, with 30 current and emerging leaders in the inaugural class. The group includes representatives from education, large and small business, nonprofits and county offices, on both sides of Interstate 25.

“We had 55 fantastic applications for the program and as a result, have an outstanding class,” said May, program chair.

The Leadership Northern Colorado class continues through June; applications for the 2011 class are available online now at www.leadershipnortherncolorado.com

An area of more long-standing cooperation is the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, the joint public policy advocacy arm of the chambers as well as the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp. The NCLA works for all of Northern Colorado on local, state and federal policy issues affecting business.

“With so many special interests beating down lawmakers’ doors to have their voices heard during the session, it’s critical that business make its presence known and its priorities understood at the Capitol,” explained Sandra Hagen Solin, issues manager for NCLA.

NCLA not only brings business issues to the state Legislature, it also brings legislators to businesses through monthly Monday Morning meetings. It also brings local business face-to-face with legislators in its popular Mission to the Capitol.

The three chambers are awarded the 2010 Bravo! Entrepreneur Regional Spirit Award for their continuing efforts on behalf of all the region’s businesses.

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