Experience Colorado Springs presents awards

Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak, formerly the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, has selected its 2005 Tourism Industry Employee of the Year award winners.

Scott Marble of Cheyenne Mountain Resort was the winner in the management category. Bonnie Kish of the Doubletree Hotel, Colorado Springs World Area, was the runner up.

Carol Johnson of the Franciscan Retreat Center was the winner in the non-management category. Sylvia Johnson of Cheyenne Mountain Resort was runner up.

SBA, Operation Hope helping Gulf Coast businesses

In an effort to provide financial counseling and assistance to small and minority businesses affected by the hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Operation Hope Inc. have launched Project Restore Hope/Small Business.

The program offers small and minority businesses in disaster-affected communities access to free financial counseling, information about economic assistance programs and budgeting advice through one-on-one telephone counseling. Business owners can call (888) 388-4673 and select the Project Restore Hope/Small Business option for assistance.

The SBA and Operation Hope also are seeking 1,000 volunteer professionals from financial institutions, credit unions and insurance companies to participate in the initiative.

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Operation Hope is the nation’s first nonprofit social investment bank and a national provider of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs.

Pease Consulting Group earns Microsoft certification

Pease Consulting Group has earned the designation of Microsoft Certified Partner for Small Business Financials.

To receive the certification, a company must pass a test designed for the industry it works with. Pease was tested on its knowledge of technology, accounting and the Small Business Financials application.

Magazine cites UCCS for Hispanic education

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is one of the nation’s top universities in the education of people of Hispanic descent, according to the editors of Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education magazine.

In the Nov. 21 edition, the Paramus, N.J.-based magazine cited UCCS and 11 other Colorado universities as “Publisher’s Picks” for “doing a commendable job of recruiting, retaining and graduating Hispanics.”

The magazine cited universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

For the fall 2005 semester, 655 UCCS students identified themselves as being of Hispanic descent. Additionally, there are 29 members of the UCCS faculty who are Hispanic and in May, 95 Hispanic students graduated from the university.

Springs showcased at National League of Cities

Colorado Springs has been awarded the James C. Howland Gold Award from the National League of Cities.

The award is given to communities that have preserved and/or enriched a high quality of life. Colorado Springs was honored for its transportation education program, which resulted in the formation of the Pikes Peak Rural Transit Authority.

In addition to the award, a $2,000 cash gift is given in the city’s name to a nonprofit entity. Colorado Spring’s donation will be given to Pikes Peak United Way.

The National League of Cities serves as a resource and advocate for 18,000 cities and towns, which collectively serve 225 million people.

SBA increases small business size standards

The U.S. Small Business Administration has increased its small business size standards to account for inflation, restoring small business eligibility to those firms that may have lost their small business status because of inflation since February 2002.

The SBA has adjusted its dollar-based small business size standards, which are based on receipts, net worth and financial assets, to reflect inflation that has occurred since February 2002, when SBA last adjusted them for the same reason.

Since the February 2002 inflation adjustment, prices have generally increased 8.7 percent. SBA increased the familiar “anchor” size standard from $6 million to $6.5 million. Size standards that are higher than $6 million also reflect similar percentage increases.

The SBA also changed how it determines the size of small business concerns when they apply for SBA business loans and economic injury disaster loans. Instead of looking only at the loan applicant’s primary industry, SBA now looks at the primary industry of the applicant together with its affiliates. This will provide additional assistance to small businesses that have subsidiaries and affiliates.

The SBA also changed procedures for determining size status for the purpose of the economic injury loan applications for businesses located in areas declared a disaster because of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. For an economic injury loan, instead of having to show it was a small business when these hurricanes struck, the firm only has to fit the new small business size standard when SBA accepts its application for processing.

SBA issued an interim final rule on Dec. 6 and the revised size standards took effect the same day for its loan programs. For federal procurement, the new size standards become effective on Jan. 5.

For more information about SBA’s increase to its small business size standards for inflation, visit www.sba.gov/size/indexwhatsnew.html#inflIFR.