The Entrepreneurs Consortium of Colorado (ECC) helps small businesses

T3: Tips, Tools and Tricks – The Entrepreneurs Consortium of Colorado

How The Entrepreneurs Consortium of Colorado can help your business grow and keep you in the know

The Entrepreneurs Consortium of Colorado (ECC) is made up of three nonprofit organizations that have a common central mission of supporting and strengthening Colorado’s local business economy.

Before becoming a consortium, Colorado Companies to Watch (CCTW), Colorado Thought Leaders Forum (CTLF) and Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network (BEN) were not collaborating around serving the Colorado economic growth companies.

“All three organizations realized that we are all basically driving toward the same goal,” said Rick Ninneman, Chair of Colorado Companies to Watch and member of the ECC Advisory Board. “It made sense to combine our collective efforts, avoid duplicate services and become a more powerful resource for those business owners and business executives that we had been reaching out to.”

Individually, each ECC organization has its own specialty: CCTW is an annual awards program that seeks out and honors growing 2nd Stage Companies, BEN is a CEO mentorship program for 2nd Stage business leaders and CTLF plans events that create unique networking and learning opportunities among that same growing business community.

“Rather than any of us overlapping into what each of us does well, we decided to collaborate and bring the forces of our collective constituencies together,” Ninneman said. “This generates more award nominations for Companies to Watch, creates more mentors and mentees for BEN and attracts more attendees to CTLF’s events and their strategic connections networking events.”

He said: “The result is a large community of 2nd Stage business leaders with vast resources at their fingertips.”

The ECC’s robust cycle of programming and exposure enables their network of 2nd Stage Companies (and former 2nd Stage Companies) to connect and support each other while working through business growth challenges.

“Imagine a 2nd Stage business executive having the opportunity to sit down with the former CFO from OtterBox,” Ninneman said. “OtterBox has 400 employees now, but it was a CCTW winner way back when the program was in its infancy. Now, that’s a resource that someone with eighteen employees who has a big dream and a great product or service would not normally be able to access.”

The consortium regularly makes opportunities like that possible to business leaders.

Becoming part of the consortium’s extensive network can also promote your business within that network.

“Our companies and their clients typically look to our vetted community when they need a product or service before they look outside,” Ninneman said. “It’s creating a sustaining marketplace that encourages exponential growth among Colorado’s economic drivers.”