Exploring regional business concerns, learning how to raise personal and business capital and discovering the role philanthropy plays in business — all are topics that will be discussed at programs presented by the Middle Market Entrepreneurs during the coming fall, winter and spring months.

Among other activities, MME hosts this annual series of panel discussions that covers a broad range of business challenges, and offers suggestions for effective solutions. But MME members can also take advantage of professional development, business coaching, networking, executive coaching and business growth strategy assistance gained from the experience of other business owners in the organization.

The 2017-18 speakers series kicks off Sept. 12 and will run every other month through May.

Geared toward business owners and executives, MME isn’t for marketers or salespeople. It’s not a leads group. Instead, its goal is to educate, inform and help grow businesses in Colorado Springs. It’s for senior managers, owners and executives who want strategies to help them succeed — and engage with the community.

MME’s vision is one reason the Colorado Springs Business Journal has long been a sponsor of the organization.

Its mission “to provide an engaging educational forum for business owners and senior executives in small to medium size organizations” fits hand-in-glove with the CSBJ’s goal to provide timely, accurate, objective, useful news to local businesses — to engage the business community so that when they become a supporter of the Business Journal, they know they will receive the kind of news that helps their business grow and prosper.

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The CSBJ is a legacy sponsor of the organization, and as such has been involved with the group since its earliest days. Supporting local business organizations is something we believe in — and we want to work closely with organizations that have a clear goal to develop a robust economic climate in Colorado Springs. Creating growth and spurring innovation helps the entire community grow into a world-class city.

[su_box title=”Middle Market Entrepreneurs” box_color=”#005ac3″]6:30 a.m.

Second Friday, every other month from September-May

El Paso Club, 30 E. Platte Ave.

Mmecos.org for information and registration[/su_box]Harry Salzman, longtime local Realtor and member of the MME board of directors, says the group sought inspiration from the Wall Street Journal, which put on a weekend of programs on MME topics for businesses in New York City.

“While their middle-market is far bigger than ours,” Salzman said, “we were surprised to find that their companies — very large companies with profits that start in the millions — were facing the same issues we are all having in the middle-market in the Springs, where profits aren’t nearly that big.”

So the group decided to use those topics in this year’s program series. Each topic brings in three panelists to share their expertise over breakfast at the El Paso Club. They get started early — networking begins at 6:30 a.m., but the members like it that way, Salzman says.

“We’re all busy, so it helps to have it at breakfast and start the day with important lessons,” Salzman explains. “So we work hard to keep it on time, but also to make sure the topics are pertinent to business.”

Between 30 and 40 people attend the breakfast meetings. It costs $40 to attend the group’s programs, but Salzman believes it’s worth it.

“We want to be very aggressive about what we’re doing with the group and the information we’re providing,” he said. “We’re working to keep it new and interesting with every cycle. That’s what keeps people engaged.”

The draft event calendar for 2017-18 looks like this:

• Friday, Sept. 15 — Regional Leaders Forum

Titled “Opportunities and Challenges for the Area,” this meeting will feature a panel discussion by community leaders about important issues and concerns for area businesses, plus effective strategies for handling diversity of thought in a politically charged environment.

• Friday, Nov. 10 — Personal and Business Capital

Lending experts discuss innovative solutions for funding both personal and professional capital needs.

• Friday, Jan. 19 — Meeting Workforce Needs

Local experts talk about creative strategies to address challenges of recruiting, developing and retaining talented employees and executives.

 • Friday, March 16 — Philanthropy at Work 

Why should business owners get involved with philanthropy? This discussion will help business leaders implement philanthropic goals.

• Friday, May 18 — Staying Relevant

Area business owners will discuss how to streamline and diversify service and product lines in a constantly evolving business climate.

For more information, go to mmecos.org.