Sunday, July 17, 2011

Regis-based Capital Congress reaching out for small business

I just posted two ideas to a website being run by the Colorado Capital Congress, a new advocate for providing capital to small businesses that need it to survive in today's harsh economic climate.

That's a big chore to take on in Colorado, as Karl Dakin, executive director of the Sullivan Chair for Free Enterprise at Regis University, well knows.

He and "some other guys" tried to convince the legislature last session to create a public/private entity that could capitalize startup businesses to the tune of $25,000 to $250,000. They were turned down on a party-line vote in a House committee.

"They didn't want to see another government entity involved in funding" private business, Dakin told me in an interview Sunday. So Dakin took his ball and went home to Regis where last month he and Paul Alexander, director of the school's Institute on the Common Good, founded the Capital Congress.

On June 29, the pair held an organizational meeting with Denver-area business owners, some business financiers and at least one state legislator, Pete Lee, D-Manitou Springs, where they outlined a process for the congress to vet new ideas for accomplishing its cause: filling a shortfall of up to $10 billion a year in capital funding for Colorado small businesses.

The Colorado Capital Congress,, will collect, improve and then vote on ideas submitted from the general public, and then bring that agenda to next year's legislature with an assurance to elected officials the ideas have the backing of some of their constituents and represent a dire need for businesses in the state.

Capital, or cash, is always what most small-business owners lack if they can turn their attention from survival to actually strategizing about growth.

The growth of small businesses in Colorado is the largest single contributor to job growth in the state, so if politicians are sincere about finding jobs for Colorado's unemployed they will at least give a listen to Dakin and Alexander's suggestions when the next lawmaking festival rolls around in January.

"Business-friendly" is a descriptor many elected officials adopt for themselves when trying to persuade voters to support them. When the time comes to actually do something for voters who have believed in the descriptor, many state officials in Colorado do a free-market shuffle and beg off the issue.

I hope this Congress will hold some political cold feet close to the fire. 

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