Colorado Enterprise Fund Named 2024 Community Lender of the Year - Colorado

Release Date:  April 16, 2024                           Contact: Dave Wentzel (303) 844-2003

SBA Announces Colorado Small Business Week Winners

Colorado Home to Two National Award Winners

DENVER – National Small Business Week is a presidential proclamation dating back to 1963; during the week of April 29 through May 3rd, SBA offices across the nation will be honoring small businesses by organizing events and award ceremonies to recognize the impact small businesses have on our nation’s economy and our local communities. This year, Colorado was selected as a National Roadshow stop for SBA Administrator, Isabel Guzman, who will be visiting the Centennial State on May 2nd, meeting with businesses, elected officials, stakeholders, and participating in Colorado’s NSBW award ceremony as the keynote speaker. Colorado is home to winners in two national award categories, including Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation, and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence – Service Category. 

“During National Small Business Week, cities and counties across Colorado will celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship and the positive impact small business has on helping communities thrive and grow,” said Frances Padilla, SBA’s Colorado District Director. “Colorado has a rich history of small business creation and innovation, and our winners are representative of the supportive business climate that exists in this state.”

Colorado Small Business Person(s) of the Year:
Christine and Alan Herron
Achieve Sports Center
22675 E Aurora Pkwy
Aurora, CO 80016
(720) 330-2200

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Colorado District Office announces Christine and Alan Herron, co-founders of Achieve Sports Center, as this year’s Colorado Small Business Person(s) of the Year. Achieve Sports Center, located in Aurora CO, has been providing a safe, and welcoming environment for youth sports and activities since 2013. Utilizing SBA lending resources, the Herron’s were able to secure a commercial space to offer athletic programing to their local community. Despite the hardships during Covid-19, Achieve Sports Center was able to keep their entire staff on payroll; since 2020, the company grew into its new space, growing from a staff of 32 to 123. Following their motto of Dream-Believe-Achieve, Christine and Alan are recognized as a leader in youth sports training and an asset to their community. 

State, Regional and National Winner - SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award:
Aurora-South Metro SBDC hosted by the City of Aurora
Represented by Marcia McGilley, Executive Director
15151 E Alameda Pkwy #2300
Aurora, CO 80012
(303) 326-8686

Colorado also celebrates the Aurora-South Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC), hosted by the City of Aurora,  as a national winner of the SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award. This award was created to recognize excellence in providing value to small businesses from diverse backgrounds by advancing programming delivery and management through innovation., Marcia McGilley, Executive Director, and her team have created dynamic programing and events throughout the south metro area, helping entrepreneurs and business owners turn their business ambitions into realities. 

National Winner - Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence -  Services: 
Lauren Terry
Federal Small Business Liaison Officer & Program Manager
6312 South Fiddlers Green Circle
Suite 30N
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
(720) 286-5318

Jacobs Engineering was selected to receive the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence: Services category,  for their utilization of diverse small businesses to participate in subcontracts awarded by Jacobs. In a recent Defense Contract Management Agency audit, Jacobs Federal was rated as “Exceptional”, receiving the highest rating, which only 2% of prime contractors hold. Jacobs continues to expand its use of small businesses and expanding service through their federal Small Business Program. 

Colorado Lender Awards:
•    2024 7(a) Lender of the Year (Large) – The Huntington National Bank
•    2024 7(a) Lender of the Year (Small) – Midwest Regional Bank
•    2024 504 CDC of the Year (Large) – B:Side Capital, Denver, CO
•    2024 504 CDC of the Year (Small) – Preferred Lending Partners, Denver, CO
•    2024 Rural Lender of the Year – First Southwest Bank, Southwestern CO
•    2024 Community Lender of the Year – Colorado Enterprise Fund,  Denver, CO

Colorado Local Awards:
•    2024 Colorado District Director’s Diamond Award – Front Range Community College - Larimer SBDC and Poudre River Public Library District, represented by Hope Hartman, Larimer SBDC Director & Molly Thompson, Harmony Library Manager, Fort Collins, CO 80526
•    2024 Colorado Small Business “Wall of Fame” Inductee – Lippett, Inc dba Senor Ric’s Mexican Restaurant, Jeffery Eaton (majority owner), Aurora CO
•    2024 Amy McDowell Service to Small Business Award presented annually by Colorado SBDC Network – Mr. Jesse Esparza, Consultant

ABOUT THE U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit .

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