In May, Denver Economic Growth and Opportunity announced a new program for family-owned micro businesses in Denver. Extensive commercial investment in Denver real estate has made family owned and operated businesses uncertain. Many have already closed their doors in the last two decades. RiNo/Five Points’ complete transformation since the early 2000s has alienated it from the Denver residents who once called it home. It’s a cautionary tale for other neighborhoods working to maintain their space and sense of community. Without proper support, small family businesses may lack the resources needed for longevity.
The Family Business Protection Program hopes to provide that help.
Family Business Challenges in Denver
A micro-enterprise is generally defined as an enterprise with fewer than 10 employees. Family-run restaurants, shops, and businesses that provide services fall into this category. Denver is an increasingly gentrifying city, leaving small family businesses vulnerable to divestment and displacement. Family businesses in Denver are woven into much of the city’s fabric; Their protection protects entire communities, cultures and history.
“Our city’s small, family-owned micro businesses are part of the unique culture and character of our neighborhood. It’s important that we support these business owners and support these business owners,” Jen Morris, Denver Economic Development and Opportunity Executive Director, said in a statement. Secure the wealth-building opportunity of the generation that created them.
Family Business Protection Program
Following feedback from Denver small business owners, the Denver Economic Development and Opportunity (DEDO) and the Center for Community Wealth Building (CCWB), a number of needs were identified, including securing business succession, maintaining stability and achieving economic security. . The Family Business Preservation Program was created by DEDO and CCWB with a $100,000 grant from the National League of Cities.
Eligible businesses for the Family Business Protection Program must have annual income of less than $500,000. The program will give priority to applicants whose family members are 16 years of age or older and are interested in learning more about business operations and businesses with owners who are expected to retire within the next five to 10 years.
The program prioritizes applicants from 10 neighborhoods identified as the most vulnerable to displacement: Elyria-Swansea, Globeville, NE Park Hill, East Colfax, Montbello, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, West Colfax and Westwood.
“We believe this program represents three much needed elements. First, it is conceived and delivered through a culturally appealing, culturally appropriate lens. Second, we consider existing professional support resources and connections. Third, support should include succession planning, with a key objective being to keep businesses in their families of origin,” CCWB executive director Yessika X. Holguin said in a statement. .
Helping family businesses succeed
Program participants receive guidance on how to maintain longevity across generations. Together, the family members will create long-term business plans that keep the company’s core vision in mind.
Through the program, DEDO and CCWB hope to secure successful multi-generational business ownership, thereby enhancing economic stability and protecting local businesses nurtured by their community. Rather than focusing on new developers, the Family Business Preservation Program has long been dedicated to increasing the community wealth of Denver residents.
Applications for the first group of companies closed on May 31st and are currently being reviewed. DEDO and CCWB are expected to select the first group of 20 professions.