Colorado Business Resource Book
The LBDC combines local, state and federal resources to help your business succeed. Whether you want to browse through a copy of the Colorado Business Resource Book or pick up the phone to ask the Small Business Navigator which permits are required for your start-up venture, we’ve got you covered.
MyBizColorado was specifically created to help new businesses get up and running and become part of the Colorado economy. It creates a single system for new businesses to interact with multiple state agencies responsible for new businesses, including the Secretary of State’s Office, Department of Revenue, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Regulatory Agencies and Office of Economic Development and International Trade. MyBizColorado is user friendly, intuitive and a more expedient way to register a business and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. It will be especially helpful to emerging small businesses. Learn more by watching a short video at http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/media/MyBizColorado.mp4.
Larimer Resource Gateway
The Loveland Business Development Center Resource Gateway connects Colorado business owners to relevant resources and business development organizations.
Business Consulting and/or Mentoring
Loveland Business Development Center
5400 Stone Creek Circle
Loveland, CO 80538
The Warehouse Business Accelerator
– Working with stage 2 companies.
Larimer County Small Business Development Center
320 East Vine Drive, #303
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Rocky Mountain Inventors’ Association
209 Kalamath Street, Unit 9
Denver, CO 80223
Northern Colorado Food Incubator
Sources of Capital
Colorado Enterprise Fund
1888 Sherman Street, Suite 530
Denver, CO 80203
Colorado Creative Industries
Colorado Lending Source
Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA)
Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute (RMMFI)
HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program
Small Business Administration
Small Business Administration – How to Prepare Your Loan Application
Rocky Mountain Innosphere
320 E Vine Drive, #101
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Business Permits & Licensing
Colorado Secretary of State – Business Organizations
Colorado Occupational License Database
www.Occupational License Database
Larimer County – Establishing a business in Larimer County
City of Loveland – Business Licenses and Permits
City of Fort Collins – Opening A Business in Fort Collins
Internal Revenue Service – Filing and Paying your Business Taxes
Colorado Department of Revenue
Larimer County – Sales & Use Tax
City of Loveland – Sales Tax
City of Fort Collins – Sales Tax
Colorado Department of Labor & Employment
633 17th Street, Suite 201
Denver, CO 80202
Larimer County Workforce Center – Loveland
418 East 4th Street
Loveland, CO 80537
Larimer County Workforce Center – Fort Collins
200 W. Oak Street, Suite 5000
Fort Collins, CO 80521
Market Research & Tools
SizeUp by the Small Business Administration
Bureau of Labor Statistics
United States Census Bureau – Business & Industry Economic Statistics
Loveland Public Library
Poudre River Public Library
Meet with the business librarian at the Small Business Development Center to have market research compiled for your business.
Small Business Navigator
The Small Business Navigator is the first point of contact for new and existing business owners with questions about federal, state and local licensing requirements. The navigator also provides referrals to a variety of state and federal assistance programs and local small business training. In addition, the navigator maintains a comprehensive database of federal, state and local regulatory and permitting requirements.
Call the Small Business Navigator at 303-592-5920 with your start-up questions!
Occupational License Database
Through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the Colorado SBDC maintains a database containing state and federal regulations for businesses in the state. Additional city regulations may exist, so be sure to check with your local city or county clerk licensing department.
US Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization
US Department of Defense – Office of Small Business Programs
US General Services Administration
Wounded Warrior Project
Woman and Minority Resources
Finding minority & women-owned businesses
Disadvantaged business enterprise certification
Office of Women’s Business Ownership – SBA
Minority Owned Business Resources – SBA
The Loveland Downtown Partnership and
The Loveland Downtown Development Authority
Website with information about the LDP/DDA and The Business Aliance
Starting A Business FAQs
- Where should I start when starting a business in Colorado?
First consult the Colorado Business Resource Book, a basic guide to starting a business in Colorado. The guide is customized to include the specific forms and licensing information for each individual business. If you still have questions, contact the Small Business Navigator at 303-592-5920. Once you have a basic idea about your business, contact the SBDC nearest you to schedule free one-on-one consulting services as well as referrals to various government sources of assistance that provide additional business consulting and economic development assistance.
- How do I get a state business license?
The State of Colorado does not issue or require a generic general business license. Licenses are issued by various state agencies for specific types of business, activities and professions. Refer to the Occupational Licensing Database for more information.
- How do I register my business name or set up a legal structure?
To verify if a name is already being used in Colorado, check the Colorado Secretary of State website. Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, sole proprietors, general partnerships and trade names register organizational paperwork with the Secretary of State (303-894-2200). Trade name registration with the Secretary of State does NOT establish exclusive rights. However, it is required when doing business under any name other than the first and last names of the owner(s)/organizer(s). For more information, refer to the Legal Structure chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book.
- How do I get a state tax identification number?
You can apply for a state tax identification number using the online form CR 100 – New Employer Registration.
- What is the sales tax rate in Colorado?
The state sales tax rate in Colorado is 2.9%. However, sales tax is also collected for counties, cities and special districts. The exact sales tax rate is determined by adding the various rates that apply at the location where a sales transaction is completed. The state collects the majority of all sales taxes. However, there are 71 “home rule” cities that require separate licensing and directly collect their city’s portion of the sales tax on all sales made within their jurisdiction. For more information, click here. The Department of Revenue publishes the Colorado Sales/Use Tax Rates, DRP 1002, which lists the tax rates for all jurisdictions in Colorado. Publication DRP 0099, Colorado Sales and Use Tax and the Colorado Sales Tax chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book are also available.
- Where do I obtain workers’ compensation insurance in Colorado?
Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased through private insurance companies in Colorado. There is not a state fund. The Colorado Legislature created Pinnacol Assurance (303-361-4000), a non-profit insurance carrier, to sell workers’ comp. It is not, however, a state agency. Many new businesses frequently obtain their workers’ comp through Pinnacol; however, it not required that new business use Pinnacol. Businesses are encouraged to shop for the best rates and service as they would for any other form of insurance. Consult directories and speak with other business owners for references. For information regarding employer responsibilities to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage, contact the Division of Workers’ Compensation (303-318-8700) or refer to the Employer Responsibilities chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book.
- How much is the unemployment insurance tax in Colorado?
For the majority of employers, the beginning base tax rate is 0.017 plus principle bond rate of 0.0038 for the combined rate of 0.0208 on the first $11,700 of each employee’s annual earnings. Those employers in construction-related businesses may be subject to a different tax base. For more information regarding unemployment insurance, contact the Unemployment Insurance Section (303-318-9100) or refer to the Employer Responsibilities chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book.
- Where do I get a government grant to start a new business?
Unfortunately, there are really no government grants – state or federal – available for starting a business. There are very specific targeted government grants but they rarely apply to start ups. These grants are called Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants. SBIR grants are usually issued by a federal agency that is seeking research and development in specific areas including military weapons development, biotechnology and other high-tech fields. SBIR Colorado (303-427-1312 ext 201) is a non-profit organization that assists entrepreneurs, scientists and researchers identify SBIR grant opportunities.
- Where do I apply for a government loan?
The vast majority of government loans programs – state and federal – are called guaranteed loans. To apply for these loans, a business owner contacts a bank or other financial institution which applies to the government for a guarantee on the loan. There are also other forms of private financing for business owners. The Financing Chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book outlines many of these options. Before speaking to a bank or any seeking any other type of financing, a business owner should realize two important factors:
- It is very difficult to finance new businesses. The majority of financial resource for a new business will come from the personal assets of the owner and their family and friends. Banks and the government prefer to see a two or three year business history before making a loan, regardless of the age of a business. While this does not eliminate the possibility of financing, it makes the second factor even more important.
- A complete and well written business plan is critical to any type of financing. SBDC centers provide free one-on-one consulting to assist business owners in the writing of their business plan. The Business Plan Chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book provides a basic outline for writing a business plan.
- Where do I get basic information about the quality of life and the cost of living in Colorado?
The Colorado Office of Economic Development (303-892-3840) publishes the Colorado Data Book, which has a basic information guide regarding the State of Colorado as a whole. There are over 50 local economic development offices and more than 150 chambers of commerce that frequently provide more specific local information.