Members of the Craig Community Assessment subcommittee on economic development, from left, Steven Fulton, Kathy Powell-Case and Jay Oxley, discuss how to grow Craig's business sector.

Photo by Erin Fenner

Members of the Craig Community Assessment subcommittee on economic development, from left, Steven Fulton, Kathy Powell-Case and Jay Oxley, discuss how to grow Craig's business sector.

Economic development subcommittee to bring entrepreneurial event to Craig

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— An economic development committee met Tuesday to plan an event to attract entrepreneurs and business owners to Craig in June.

The planning group is the economic development subcommittee of the Craig Community Assessment Committee, which kicked off its meetings at the beginning of the year after receiving an assessment performed by the state program Downtown Colorado Inc. The state program helps guide small communities through the processes it takes to boost local economies.

“Those assessments, we have to use them as a blueprint for our economic success,” said Audrey Danner, interim director of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and a member of the subcommittee.

One of the economy-boosting opportunities is an event that could bring educational opportunities and people to Craig: the Colorado Entrepreneurship Marketplace.

The expo will be open to entrepreneurs who want to get information about how to expand or start up their businesses. It will run from June 13 to 14.

It will be an affordable event, costing $35 per participant to benefit small business owners seeking some education. It also could help Craig businesses attract extra people to fill hotel rooms and empty seats at restaurants, Danner said.

The expo is on the same weekend as Whittle the Wood because it will increase the crowds for both events, bringing even more business to Craig, she said.

“We purposefully did it the Thursday and Friday of Whittle the Wood so we can hopefully get some carryover for that Saturday,” she said.

The economic development subcommittee was in the primary stages of planning, determining how it would seek out sponsors and exhibitors.

“We need to find the right people to get on board for sponsors,” committee member Jay Oxley said.

Danner expressed excitement about the options for speakers. Determining who will be the keynote speaker at the Colorado Entrepreneurship Marketplace will be a fundamental choice for the subcommittee, she said.

Danner had looked over the speaker options before the meeting.

“At first glance, I’m not saying that all of them were fabulous, but many of them were,” she said. “It just depends on what we want.”

The subcommittee will seek financial sponsorship from local businesses to fund a percentage of the expo, said Chris Oxley, executive director of Craig Chamber of Commerce and subcommittee member.

It will seek $10,000 from local sponsors, Chris Oxley said. With grant money, local donations and in-kind donations, it could be a $46,000 event, she said.

“That can be a very, very impressive event,” she said.

After outlining the goals to meet to pull off the expo, Danner returned back to the general mission of the meetings: to enrich the community.

“Do we believe we can make change with this Craig Community Assessment? Are we in it for our community?” she asked.

Chris Oxley said the committee could be effective if they approached one project at a time.

“Accomplish something. Check that off. Move to the next thing. Pick that and finish it,” she said. So, the community could see, “yes, we’re making progress.”

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

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