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Tribe welcomes Small Business Development Center

Liz Ross is the Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center of Southwest Colorado.
Photo Credit: Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum

Tribal members with interests in small business can now get a taste of career building with the help of the newly opened Small Business Development Center (SBDC), located in the Annex building just near the Southern Ute Dental Office.

Starting Wednesday, Oct. 19, SBDC services we be available one day per week for tribal members to gain knowledge on which steps can be taken when starting a business, including business plan preparation, loan proposal preparation, growth planning, marketing, industry research, and many more.

It is the first SBDC office in Ignacio and will offer one-on-one consultations with Liz Ross, Executive Director and business expert.

“I’ve seen an increase in Native Americans from the surrounding area who have shown interest in business development,” Ross stated. “Having a satellite office here in Ignacio will definitely cater to those who are looking to start somewhere. I’m excited about this, because to me it’s a big deal.”

Ross, who is Alaskan-Native, stated that she has been affiliated with native tribes over the past 21 years of her career, and looks forward to bringing opportunities to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

She added, “Culture is very important to me. We never reach outside and ask for anything. It’s really part of my job in offering my services and understanding the culture. One thing I fully understand is that with our culture there is a little hesitant in asking for help, so here we are to offer that help. Knowing that a service is available, people are more prone to drop in.”

The Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center was first established in 1989 and was rated number one SBDC office in the state of Colorado in 2007, and 2009, and has helped thousands of businesses since its inception. SBDC has served Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, and San Juan Counties, as well as the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Currently there are two additional satellite offices, one in Cortez and one in Pagosa Springs.

Ross stated that her next goal is to have an office set up in Towaoc to cater to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

“I’m hoping to have one set up by December, but it’s tricky because when you consider Towaoc, the shipping service is not as healthy and they have limited hours compared to Cortez.”

Tribal members can schedule an appointment by calling 970-563-2237 once the SDBC office doors officially open on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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