Business Resources for Creative Entrepreneurs

By Paul Bindel

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Love or hate resolutions, now is the time most of the Western world pauses to plan and reflect. What will your next step be?
Whether you need peers to push you deeper into your craft or you want to finally write a business plan, use this list as a springboard for action. Think of the people you know who put off doing that one thing that could take their creative work to the next level. Do you want to be them? Then do your thing!

Get Inspired & Connected

Denver Metro has many networking groups and masterminds. What sets the list below apart from your everyday mixer is that each of them feature a skills-based workshop or inspirational talk to help you learn new things-in this case, with other people!

1 Million Cups,
Enterprise Coworking, 3000 Lawrence St.

Each Wednesday morning, entrepreneurs gather and listen to 6-min pitches from the local community. Aside from the ever-flowing coffee, the best part is the 20-min Q&A that follows each pitch.

Creative Mornings Denver, Location varies
This monthly caffeine-fueled happy hour features networking and an inspiring speaker, by and for creatives. Grab your tickets early because these free events usually sell out. Be on the lookout for evening happy hours as well.

Consultants For Good, Location varies
Part networking, part put-it-into-practice, this monthly a.m. series hosted by Lauren Andraski is essentially a free professional development session for freelancers or business owners with a vision for social change. Do you work for arts nonprofits or social enterprises? This is your jam!

Ladies, Wine & Design, Location varies
Once a month, badass women in design gather and connect. This multi-city event, originally started by Jessica Walsh, seeks to increase the number of women who spearhead design agencies, so find your people, whether you work in fashion design, product design, graphic design or architecture.

Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, 445 Market St.
If you’ve never been to an SBDC office, now is the time to get over that fear. You already pay for this service through your taxes—why not take advantage of their courses, free consulting and pitch competitions? With an approachable culture and offices next door to the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, you can meet or get an introduction to pretty much anyone you need to meet in the local business community.

RiNoMade Salons
Converge Denver, 3327 Brighton Blvd.

The Denver Public Library and RiNo Art District have teamed up for monthly workshops for creative entrepreneurs. Learn how to introduce your business or how to set up a business budget or other lessons they didn’t teach you in school.

Level Up

Most of us didn’t get an MBA, so these business and leadership courses could provide essential information so that you can earn more money, find new customers or finally understand a balance sheet. If you feel uncomfortable at the thought of a business course, that might be all the more reason to step towards it. Embracing discomfort is how you grow!

Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute, Re/Launch $150-400 (sliding scale)
Plenty of businesses have made money without a business plan, but writing one ensures that you understand every part of your business and how to keep it running healthy. This 12-week bootcamp, designed for early stage entrepreneurs, includes one-on-one mentorship and culminates in the option of a microloan to help you grow.

Denver Metro SBDC, Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs
$550-695 (scholarships available)

This 10-week course will help you write a business plan, and it will connect you in a huge way to all of the resources of the Small Business Development Center. (Psst—Arts & Venues offers a 50% scholarship to creative businesses. Also, if you attend an info session, you might even score a discount on tuition!)

The Commons on Champa, CO. Starters $250
Testing an idea? Ready to launch? The Commons hosts events every day—many of them free, so take a moment to explore their calendar and pathways. The CO.Starters program is a 9-week program designed to help you grow, but you could also benefit from their two-day Business Bootcamp ($200, scholarships available) or even the Resource Navigator, a free online resource.

Creative Startups, Accelerator $895
The business accelerator that launched Meow Wolf also had two Denver alumni in 2018—GoodCinema and Futures United Network (FUN). Everything about this 10-week program is specifically calibrated for artists and creatives. Each cohort kicks off with five days in Albuquerque, NM (lodging and food included) and features a yearlong mentorship program.

Colorado Business Community for the Arts, Leadership Arts $1,500-2,200 (scholarships available)
The only Denver Metro leadership academy focused specifically on arts and culture, this 9-month program (Sept-May) promises to equip its 50 participants with the skills they need to serve on nonprofit boards. While it’s easy to balk at the price, you can write tuition off, and the networking aspect of this program could ultimately lead to sales much greater than the fee.

Originally from rural New Mexico, Paul Bindel spent five years teaching writing before transitioning full time into marketing at Doghead Creative, a digital marketing firm that specializes in content writing, strategy and social media.

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