New Director Brings Experience in Tech, Startup and Nonprofit Sectors to Larimer SBDC

Hope Hartman

Hartman’s diverse business background includes software, startups, technology transfer and commercialization, education and nonprofits

Local business development expert Hope Hartman has been named the new executive director of the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which provides an array of technical assistance and training to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in northern Colorado.

Although Hartman has worn many hats over the years, she is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small businesses learn, grow and succeed. “I cannot think of a more exciting place to be to have a positive impact and at such a critical time in our country’s history,” said Hartman.

“There is an increase in the number of small businesses on a national level and I want to do my part at the local level to continue that trend. By making positive contributions at the SBDC, we can build a strong foundation to help our companies thrive within the community.”

The Larimer SBDC works in collaboration with several strategic partners and dedicated sponsors to provide Larimer County entrepreneurs with street-smart business education and connections to useful resources.

Hartman’s Experience
Hartman’s business background runs both broad and deep—she started her first company when she was 18. Since then, she has worked for family-owned and -operated businesses—as well as high-tech, high-growth venture capital-backed companies.

Most recently she’s been working as an entrepreneurship coach for the “Startup to Scale Up” learning community at Ingomu Learning, a Colorado-based startup that connects expert coaches with business learners. She also serves as executive director of the Girls in the Spotlight Foundation, a Fort Collins-based nonprofit that she helped found in 2015.

In 2016, as the CEO of EnConnect Holdings, she oversaw the company’s acquisition by a Japanese venture capital firm. Then as a chief operating officer of Community Funded—an online fundraising platform based in Fort Collins—she oversaw the company’s success services and contract management while also managing human resources and board meetings.

Earlier in her career, Hartman worked for the University of Washington’s Technology Transfer Office—the center for commercialization on campus. She helped to create new companies based on promising university technologies across a number of business sectors—ranging from 3-D technology to algae biofuel.

Leading the Larimer SBDC
“Our SBDC is a relevant and valuable resource for existing and new small business owners, and we are excited to welcome Hope as the executive director,” said Jean Runyon, vice president of FRCC’s Larimer Campus.

“Her appointment demonstrates our continued commitment to fostering local economic development by being the leading small business resource in our community. Her background and skills in supporting businesses that need assistance—whether at start-up, expansion, operations or finance—will greatly benefit the entire region.”

“Hope’s experience, talent, and passion will be a wonderful addition to the Colorado SBDC Network and a great asset to the small business community that we serve,” said Joey Jenkins, the state SBDC Network director for Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “We are thrilled to welcome Hope into the Colorado SBDC family.”

What Does the Larimer SBDC Do?
The Larimer Small Business Development Center—which is hosted by Front Range Community College—helps ensure the vitality of northern Colorado’s economy by providing training and other support that:

  • Cultivate existing companies
  • Nurture new ventures
  • Foster job creation
  • Increase business profitability

The Larimer SBDC is consistently ranked as one of the top three centers in the state for:

  • New business starts
  • Client capital formation
  • Jobs created
  • Client sales growth

SBDC by the Numbers
In the last decade, the Larimer SBDC has worked with more than 4,250 businesses in Larimer County. In just the past two years:

  • The SBDC helped 99 new local businesses get started.
  • The center produced 202 workshops and events helping more than 2,252 attendees learn skills that are helping them run their businesses more effectively.
  • The SBDC team provided more than 8,500 hours of free, one-on-one business consulting to more than 1,800 businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Those businesses created and retained more than 1,500 local jobs.
  • They infused more than $23 million of capital back into their local businesses and reported sales increases of $33 million.

Who the SBDC Assists
Many SBDC clients aren’t able to engage in more traditional business education. Almost 70% of SBDC clients are existing business owners and 30% are learning about starting a new business. Sixty-two percent of the center’s clients are women, 14% are minority business owners and 5% are veterans.

For more information about the Larimer Small Business Development Center at Front Range Community College, visit: larimersbdc.org/. Or call 970-204-8600.

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