Economic Development Partnership to apply for business incubation grant

In other action

At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership also:

• Re-elected Mike Anson, Dave Fleming and Jay Oxley to the board and elected Robert Wiens to the board.

• Elected Scott Cook board chairman, Jay Oxley board vice-chairman, Nadine Daszkiewicz board secretary and Alisa Corey board treasurer.

• Discussed the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology, which offers eight hours of free consulting to manufacturing businesses.

• Discussed the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) Bottom-Up Strategic Plan.

• Discussed the OEDIT prospecting meeting director Darcy Owens-Trask attended with community member Dave DeRose.

• Discussed the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium.

• Discussed the Discovery 9 economic network program.

• Discussed the possibility of hosting business information events to introduce the community to various local businesses.

• Discussed a possible future presentation by the state demographer.

• Discussed proposed transmission lines through Moffat County.

• Discussed the Colorado Geological Survey and possibly offering office space to the carbon sequestration scientists.

• Discussed the possibility of using the kitchen at the former The Memorial Hospital as an incubator for a new business.

Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership plans to move forward with applying for a business incubation grant through the Office of Economic Development and International Trade this summer.

EDP director Darcy Owens-Trask presented the opportunity to the board during its monthly meeting Wednesday at the Moffat County Courthouse.

“What the business incubation program in Moffat County would look like would be that you would have services available to start and grow businesses that would be free and confidential, small business counseling, classes on entrepreneurialism and small business skills,” Owens-Trask said.

Owens-Trask said the program would give Moffat County the opportunity to assist more prospective business owners with more services and offer shared office equipment and meeting space to start-up business owners.

Owens-Trask said her current part-time position does not offer the amount of staffing that can offer that level of assistance.

“Every day we have work that we can see more is needed,” Owens-Trask said. “If we don’t attempt to get those dollars, we’re saying good enough is good enough.”

The grant — available for up to $150,000 — offers descending funds for three years with the expectation of sustainability past the three-year grant period.

Owens-Trask said she predicts she will apply for a grant totaling $110,000 — $50,000 in the first year, $35,000 in the second year and $25,000 in the third year.

Owens-Trask said applying for less than the maximum amount makes for a “more attractive” grant. In addition, she noted that Northwest Colorado has never received business incubation grant funding and that Moffat County is highly regarded at the state level.

The grant requires matching dollars, much of which EDP could cover with existing programs as well as the value of possibly donated office space.

The remainder of the matching funds, as well as dollars to sustain the program, would need to be raised through current contributors and via additional sources of funding, Owens-Trask said.

She said the first couple of years of the program would be spent meeting needs previously unmet.

Owens-Trask said she anticipates the community will see the benefit of the program and continue to donate.

“By year four, I think people will be happy with what the services are and will see the value,” Owens-Trask said.

The grant has no deadline. Owens-Trask said her plan is to submit the application within six weeks.

Owens-Trask said she plans to present the grant opportunity to the Moffat County Commission, Craig City Council, Craig Chamber of Commerce and Moffat County Tourism Association in coming weeks.

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