Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center

Business Counseling | Business Seminars | Business Pitch Competitions
We offer free and confidential business counseling services for both new and existing small businesses, in addition to a range of other support services.

Small Business Support

Serving the Yampa Valley

Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center Event

The Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center offers free, confidential business counseling for new and existing small businesses. The YVEC was established in 1999 and has assisted hundreds of local businesses launch and stay viable through changing economic conditions. 

Typical issues that clients want assistance with include marketing, financial forecasting, organizational issues, operational requirements, business planning, buying or selling a small business, finding funding, and basic HR issues.  If we don’t have the answer, a referral to another business professional may be an option. Several skilled business professionals donate their time to meet with individuals and discuss their goals and challenges.  

We also offer a variety of seminars to help with the professional development of your small business skills.  Connect with us via the button below to schedule a call or an appointment to meet in-person.

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Aaron Walls

Managing Director of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center

Business Counseling

Mentoring and Counseling

  • - Free, confidential, and individualized
  • - Online resource tools, seminars, and workshops on business planning
  • - Networking assistance
  • - Marketing and promotional strategies
  • - Human resource basics and resources
  • - Periodic business plan reviews
  • - Buying or selling a small business
  • - New business organization
  • - Management and leadership

Referrals to Service Providers

  • - Attorneys
  • - Accountants and bookkeepers
  • - Design and web development professionals
  • - Social media and marketing professionals
  • - Networking options in Routt County

Local and Regional Lending Options

  • - Banks
  • - Micro-lenders
  • - Small Business Administration loans
  • - Preparing for a loan application
  • - Attorneys
  • - Accountants and bookkeepers

Business Seminars

Recurring and Upcoming

  • New Business Planning
  • Business Plan Writing
  • Small Business Skills Development Seminars
  • Finance and Marketing Workshops
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Business Pitch Competitions

Business Planning and Pitches

Every year, the YVEC holds a business pitch competition that provides both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs with an opportunity to refine and showcase their innovative business ideas to a distinguished panel of judges. Participants not only receive valuable insights and feedback, but also stand a chance to win a cash prize to support business start-up costs. This prize money is generously donated by local governments, businesses, foundations, and philanthropists who share a common goal to support and expand the Yampa Valley's entrepreneurial ecosystem.

If you have a burning entrepreneurial spirit and would like to participate in this competition as either an entrepreneur or a sponsor, we would love to hear from you. Simply click the button below to connect with us. As spring approaches, we begin planning the annual competition, securing sponsorships, and launch it in mid-May.

Business Resources

Tools To Start and Expand

There are many tools to assist prospective and existing small business owners and managers deal with the challenges they face.  The following websites offer tools, learning modules and seminars, experiences of other entrepreneurs and connections to mentors.

National and State Websites

National and state websites for small business support organizations also offer information and tools to improve your skill set and move forward with a business opportunity.


There are many options for funding a new small business.  Rural town banks make their living helping small businesses and are the first option to consider before trying another solution.  Beyond our banks, multiple microlenders offer funding for new and small businesses.  These alternative lenders are focused on new business financing. Here are a few options to consider:

The US Small Business Administration offers lending programs that are processed through banks and community development organizations.  Many banks are proactive in partnering with the SBA in support of such loans.  Larger banks often have specialists that are dedicated to managing the administration required by the SBA to process these loans.  The interest rates can be favorable as compared to a standard business loan.  Check out the US Small Business 

Websites and Emails

Do you need to build a website on a tight budget?  Here are three options for “home grown” web sites that can get your information out there.

In Routt County, stay up to date on the business environment, network for clients and friends and get engaged with professional development opportunities through the Steamboat Springs Chamber.

Productivity Tools

Online Appointment Scheduling Software:

Online Accounting Software:

Resources for learning more:

Resources for hiring specialized talent:

Useful resource to start a LLC in Colorado:

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New Business Checklist

Here is a practical checklist for entrepreneurs embarking on a new business venture. It is important to note that the order and timing of these steps may differ for each business, and there may be additional tasks tailored to your unique business concept.

  • Funding: Bank, microlender, investors, family, self-finance. Where is the money? Do you have resources to partially self-fund? Collateral for loan?
  • Business name: Colorado Secretary of State website. See if the name is taken. Can you secure a related web address aligned with this name?
  • Business organization: LLC, sole proprietorship, S Corp., partnership? Do your research.
    • LLC and any form of corporation are through Colorado Secretary of State
    • S Corp or C Corp likely require an attorney to assist
    • LLC is pretty easy
  • EIN#: Employer identification number is the business equivalent to Social Security Number. Go to IRS.gov.
  • Bank account: Separate bank account from your personal. Second account for payroll? How do your clients want to pay? Check, Venmo, or billing? Tie to accounting software.
  • Insurance: Explore liability insurance. Worker’s compensation insurance is required if you have employees. You can buy it for yourself!
  • Software solutions: Application or enterprise systems. Online payment solution. Productivity and organization matters. Selling products through third party portal like ebay?
  • Purchase assets: Allow time for shipment.
  • Building: Lease facility. Finish to purpose. Signage. Security. Wifi.
  • Inventory: Order as needed.
  • Employees: Recruit, hire and train. Payroll system in place. Any benefits? Basic employment laws, check out Colorado Dept of Labor. Careful about contract workers.
  • Brand: Identify logo, artwork, creative. Professional or homemade on Canva?
  • Promotional campaigns: Social media, website built, local ads, other. Press release.
  • Opening date: Billing system, credit card system in place.  Tell the community.
  • Customer files: Build a customer information database.
  • Sales tax: If you’re selling a product, required. Research state, county, and city sales tax licenses. Audits will occur.
  • IRS, income taxes:
    • Quarterly payments due once profitability is attained.
    • Accurate and timely financial statements monthly.  Understand and review.
    • Bookkeeper or CPA needed?
  • Flexibility: Your plans and goals will need to be updated. Changes will occur. Frustrations will occur. Self-employment requires flexibility and a tolerance for adapting to change.

Business Pitch Competitions

Learn about upcoming business pitch competitions