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Agencies move downtown will help small businesses

June 7, 2017 Updated: June 7, 2017 at 9:55 am
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The Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center and the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center will move late next month to Catalyst Campus, on the east edge of downtown, from the Citizens Service Center on Garden of the Gods Road to be closer to clients.

The two agencies will join the Service Corps of Retired Executives at the three-building complex, 555-559 E. Pikes Peak Ave., to offer Colorado Springs area small businesses one-stop help in getting started and growing, said Aikta Marcoulier, executive director of the Small Business Development Center.

The campus is a hub for dozens of startup cybersecurity and space operations businesses that eventually could employ more than 1,000 people and are aiming to win military and government contracts totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The move gives the small-business and procurement centers access to a conference room equipped with Internet access of up to 10 gigabits per second, or about 10 times faster than the fastest home access, allowing them to more easily host web conference and other events, Marcoulier said. The campus also is about a block from Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado, a frequent partner of the small-business center in workshops, conferences and a new organization they formed for social impact businesses, she said.

"This location is an upgrade in technology, and we also found that we were hosting a lot of events here, so we were spending a lot of time commuting from our current location to the campus. We will both be in a more central location for our clients, which we expect will result in more walk-in traffic," Marcoulier said.

The small-business center has three employees and an intern that work with 40 volunteers to provide consulting to small businesses and entrepreneurs and conduct more than 100 workshops, conferences and other events. The center worked with 138 businesses last year that created 218.5 jobs and retained another 345 jobs.

The move to the campus allows the procurement center to return downtown without the parking issues it battled at a previous location, said Dennis Casey, the procurement center's executive director. The center moved in 2014 to the El Paso County-owned Citizens Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, from the U.S. Bank Building, 6 S. Tejon St. The procurement center has six employees at its Colorado Springs headquarters, but also operates full-time offices in Aurora and Westminster and part-time offices in Fort Collins and Golden.

"There is a lot of synergy between what we (the procurement and small business centers) do and what the campus is already doing," Casey said.

Construction is underway on renovations to accommodate the two agencies, which should be finished by late July.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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