Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Colorado Springs executive honored for her organization's small-business assistance

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com - Published: August 23, 2013

She's been on the job for only about a year, but Aikta Marcoulier, executive director of the Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center, made a splash with the work she spearheaded in the wake of back-to-back wildfires in the area.

In recognition of her work, the Small Business Development Centers network in Colorado selected Marcoulier for the highest award given to employees of the 14 centers and more than 70 satellite offices in the state.

The award - which recognizes center employees for exemplary performance, significant contributions to their program and a strong commitment to small business - will be presented to her and 62 other state, regional and territorial winners during the national network's annual conference next month in Orlando.

"Although Aikta has only been directing the Colorado Springs SBDC for a little over a year, she has brought the center to a whole new level and has truly risen to the top of the network through her tireless efforts to help small businesses," said Kelly Manning, director of the statewide network. "Aikta's work with businesses affected by the recent wildfires, combined with her initiative to form strategic partnerships in the community while building her consulting team, has made her extremely deserving of this award."

Marcoulier was named director of the Springs center in May 2012 after spending 8? years with the Professional Bull Riders in Pueblo as director of partnership marketing and 1? years with the Native American Sports Council in Colorado Springs. She helped supervise the SBDC's April move to the El Paso County Citizens Service Center on Garden of the Gods Road to share space with the Pikes Peak Work Force Center.

The nonprofit Small Business Development Center provides free counseling to small and mid-sized businesses in El Paso and Teller counties. Last year, the center assisted entrepreneurs start 13 businesses, and counseled 581 entrepreneurs, helping to create or retain 341 jobs and boost sales by $2.43 million.

The SBDC also has been in the forefront of efforts to assist more than 500 businesses affected by the Waldo and Black Forest fires and recent flooding in Manitou Springs. The center helped retailers, service providers, home-based operations and other businesses estimate the value of property and revenue losses they suffered from the fires and floods, and assisted them with insurance claims, policies and applications for special federal disaster loans.

"I am thrilled. I feel like we have only scratched the surface of what we can do to help local small businesses. I give credit for anything that has been accomplished by the center to our staff and volunteers," Marcoulier said.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman

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