Progams help growing businesses

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Noreen Moore has been working as the area business resource director for less than a year. But in that time, she's seen the program take root and catch local interest.

"There are more and more beginning and established businesses that are calling," Moore said. "People are beginning to see there's something there for them."

The core of Moore's job is providing assistance to businesses, from data on population and building permits, to networking with similar businesses. With that help, businesses are better able to identify new customers and new markets.

Moore also is involved with community education projects. Staying in touch with the area's economic conditions and local public policy makes it easier to assist individual businesses and the business community as a whole, she said.

Since February, Moore has worked with more than 80 local businesses.

In the past month, funding partners for the program supported the idea that it was off to a good start by guaranteeing funding for 2004. The city of Steamboat Springs committed $25,000 to the program; Routt County committed $20,000; the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association committed $10,000; and Colorado Mountain College committed between $3,000 and $4,000, Moore said.

The latter two funding sources also support Moore with other necessities, such as office space.

Along with the Small Business Development Center and the Service Core of Retired Executives, the program tries to meet the needs of businesses in the area.

In the past two months, she's had requests at her office at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association for data on trends in population, building permits and more, for information on mailing lists, for help finding lists of associations, and for contacts with similar local and regional businesses.

"The office is getting to be as busy as we had hoped," Moore said.

The inspiration for the program came from the Economic Gardening model, presented at the 2002 Economic Summit. That model suggests areas should look for business talent in their own back yards as well as pulling in talent from the outside, and then help those businesses grow.

Moore said she's targeting a range of businesses, from those started by young adults who want to enjoy the recreational lifestyle the Steamboat area offers, to those who market mostly online and so can thrive in a rural place such as Steamboat.

Overall, Moore takes on a range of projects, all with one goal.

"It's to create a healthy business environment, just to help in whatever way we can," she said.

For more information or to visit the Business Resource and Development Center at 1225 S. Lincoln Ave., call Noreen Moore at 879-0882, Ext. 204.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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