What started in 2013 as a single day has grown to a week-long recognition of the power of small business among its more than 700 participants.

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center are co-hosting the celebration of Small Business Week in its fifth year, from April 30 to May 4 at several locations in Colorado Springs.

Because of its growth, the event is expanding from a four-day to a five-day event in 2017 and is kicking off with the city’s second annual Food Truck Cook-Off.

According to Aikta Marcoulier, executive director of the Pikes Peak SBDC, 12 trucks will be participating and all but last year’s returning champ, Mira Sol, will be new to the event.

“Last year was such an amazing turnout,” Marcoulier said. “We had 200 people there and were turning more away. This year we’re capping the event at 400 people.”

The week will also include a variety of workshops and an awards celebration, “all of which are designed to support and provide resources for small business owners, entrepreneurs and those preparing to start a business,” according to a news release issued by the BBB and SBDC.

- Advertisement -

Workshops will focus on topics such as online reputation management, understanding and planning for the country’s new administration, and a cybersecurity simulation.

“Many [small business owners are] challenged to wear many hats — they’re the IT people, the accountants, the sales force,”  said Gina Sacripanti, vice president of marketing and public relations for the BBB. “We provide the educational resource they may not [otherwise] get in one place, and affordably.”

According to Sacripanti, 88 percent of businesses accredited by the BBB of Southern Colorado have 20 or fewer employees.

“We know that small business is the heart and soul of an economy,” she said. “Two-thirds of new jobs are created by small business.”

In celebration of the five-year anniversary of a local Small Business Week, a celebration and awards Ceremony will take place at The Antlers hotel Thursday, May 4, featuring keynote speaker and consultant Kevin Knebl and moderator Steve Kaczmarek, owner of Borealis Fat Bikes.

“It’s the elite small business event for this region, and honestly, for the entire state,” Marcoulier said.

For information on Small Business Week, click here.