The Pikes Peak Region Small Business Week had humble beginnings. Seven years ago, the Better Business Bureau and the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center partnered to bring a] 100-person event to Colorado Springs.
This year’s 7th Annual Small Business Week will attract an expected 5,000 people from Sunday, May 5, through Thursday, May 9, making it the largest celebration of small business in Colorado, said Aikta Marcoulier, executive director of the Pikes Peak SBDC.
“Small businesses are the creators of community and the No. 1 producers for job growth,” Marcoulier said. “We are excited to celebrate our seventh-year anniversary of this amazing week of events with our partner, the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.”
It is imperative that the community continues to support and encourage the region’s small business owners, said Jonathan Liebert, president and executive director of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.
“We are proud of the small businesses in southern Colorado,” Liebert said. “Their innovation and dedication to their work is what drives our economy.”
The fourth annual Food Truck Cook-Off will launch Small Business Week from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Broadmoor World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd. The event was previously held at the Norris Penrose Center, but last year’s record-breaking attendance numbers warranted a change in venue.
“Currently over 7,000 Facebook followers are planning to attend the Food Truck Cookoff, but only 3,000 will be able to get in,” Marcoulier said.
Those 3,000 attendees can sample dishes from nearly 40 food trucks — more than double last year’s 17, Marcoulier said. Among those items are pulled pork sliders from Wild Goose Catering and BBQ; chicken curry over coconut steamed rice from High Grade Catering and Food Truck; and free range chicken and sausage chili from Cluckin’ Chicken.
The food truck chefs will compete for a Best Food Truck award from a panel of judges, as well as a People’s Choice award.
Admission of $25 grants entrance to the enclosed food truck area, 10 sampling tickets, one free water or soda, and one vote token for the People’s Choice award. Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages will also be sold on-site.
Additional sampling tickets are available at $1 each, and children 5 years old or younger can attend the event for free.
From Monday through Wednesday, entrepreneurs, owners and managers can swap knowledge with their peers at daily educational events.
Monday’s panel, “Smart Marketing: Telling Your Story Effectively,” will feature a panel of successful business owners and marketing experts answering questions and sharing their own personal success stories in the marketing area. Admission is $20 and includes lunch.
Small business owners can learn how to keep pace with the cybersecurity protections required to shield their companies from ever-changing and growing threats — without also destroying their budget — during Tuesday’s “Cybersecurity on a Shoestring Budget” workshop. Admission is $10 and includes a continental breakfast.
During Wednesday’s “Outlook 2020: Small Business Trends You Need to Know” workshop, Liebert and Lisanne McNew, president and COO of McNew Associates, will discuss trends that are changing the course of small business, including social impact and purpose-driven business models, the changing workforce and what to expect in 2020 and beyond, and wellness in the workplace. Admission to this workshop is free.
The week wraps up Thursday with the annual Small Business Celebration and Awards dinner from 5:30-9 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.
Keynote speaker is Delaney Keating, managing director of Startup Colorado. During her presentation, “Stimulating Entrepreneurial Growth in Startup Communities,” Keating, a Colorado native and rural resident, will speak on her experience building a business from a remote location and “studying the social landscape that, through work, bridges the public and private sectors.”
The culmination of Small Business Week will be the presentation of annual awards in five categories: Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Family-owned Small Business of the Year, Veteran Small Business Owner of the Year, Small Business Champion of the Year and Small Business Person of the Year.
Finalists for the awards include leaders of 15 local small businesses.
The local Small Business Week coincides with National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The week’s events are sponsored by businesses, business organizations and media, including the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Colorado Springs Independent.
For tickets to all events, costs and more information about Pikes Peak Small Business Week, visit pikespeaksbdc.org/smallbusinessweek.