April 5, 2013
Federal agency staff in Colorado that deliver resources and programs to small business are coming together to coordinate agency activities. That coordination will promote the formation of unique partnerships that match the needs of Colorado small businesses.
“There are multiple federal agencies that provide resources to help Colorado’s small businesses grow,” Senator Michael Bennet said. “But their programs are designed in Washington and often can’t keep pace with the needs of our innovation economy. This Colorado collaboration is a commonsense idea that will benefit Colorado’s small businesses.”
Colorado is the first state in the nation to assemble an INEAP (Interagency Network of Enterprise Assistance Providers) group that will strengthen communication and foster partnerships among the various federal agencies that provide services to small businesses.
“In DC, staff in the federal agencies who work with small businesses have found the INEAP collaborations helpful in strengthening our small business outreach and programs,” said Heidi Sheppard, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Program (MEP). “Based on the kick-off meeting, it is exciting to see that there is strong interest in Colorado for a state-based INEAP, and I look forward to working with and learning from the team as we develop this pilot.”
The group is coming together at the urging of Bennet. After the major wildfires in Colorado last year, small businesses in Colorado found it difficult to navigate what federal resources were available to help them in the aftermath. Bennet's office turned to the national INEAP for information and recognized the value of their network.
Bennet believes the model can work in Colorado, giving Colorado small businesses owners a competitive edge as they access federal resources. Bennet’s office connected with the national INEAP and pitched the idea of a state-based network. Since Colorado is the first, it will serve as a pilot for future state-based groups.