Getting Help with Your Small Business
One of the primary roles of the Economic Development Division is to assist in the business development process. Getting your business off the ground is no easy task, but there are many free resources and tools available to assist and to make the process easier. This webpage is a starting point for small business owners who have questions about how the City can enable their business to thrive. Below, you’ll find resources, tools, and guidance to help open a small business or to grow and scale.
At Economic Development, we want to set your business up for success. We provide useful resources and programs alongside those our private partners provide. Shawna Lippert is a Senior Economic Development Specialist in the City’s Economic Development Division. Shawna serves as a liaison to the small business community by assisting with government regulatory processes, connecting entrepreneurs to appropriate services, and collaborating with agencies to simplify regulatory processes. She also serves as the main point of contact for the Colorado Springs for Small Business Advancement (COSSBA) advisory group. Contact Shawna at (719) 385-6803 or Shawna.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Obtain a business license or permit
Permit Partner is a free online tool that allows you to discover permits and licenses, estimates fees, and easily connect with each required agency. To start, visit the Permit Partner website and click on the “Business” portal.
Business licenses: Only the business types listed on the City Clerk’s Business Licensing website require a business license issued by the City Clerk's Office. The City of Colorado Springs does not have a general business license. Note that businesses not listed on the City Clerk’s website may require other state or local government approval, permits, or licenses.
Determine if a location or building will work for my business
Permit Partner is a free online tool to check if a type of business is allowed in a certain location. If you do not have a specific location, use Permit Partner’s interactive map to view areas that are zoned, or allowed, for your business type. To start, visit the Permit Partner website and click on the “Zoning” portal.
Important: Before signing a lease, it is important to learn all there is to know about a location. Some buildings may require significant upgrades and remodeling, especially with fire safety systems. Local agencies are willing to assist business owners with answering questions about a location before leases or contracts are signed. These services aim to help to save businesses time and money. Connect with the agencies below to discuss a specific location or to schedule a walk-through of a building.
Connect with local agencies:
- Planning and Community Development
The City’s Planning and Development department can meet with you to discuss a location and determine whether it aligns with your business needs. A Pre-Application Meeting is free of charge and allows business owners to meet with a planner to discuss a property. The planner will outline any major areas of concern, explain any applications required, and outline the process timeline.
- Colorado Springs Utilities - Building & Development
Colorado Springs Utilities offers a one-stop online shop for valuable information, tools, and resources to make your business experience easy and efficient. Schedule a meeting with the Utilities team to discuss the existing utilities at a property, any upgrades that would be required for your type of business, and to answer your questions.
- Colorado Springs Fire Department - RESTART Program
The RESTART program is designed to help small businesses, realtors, and brokers find code-compliant commercial properties prior to their commitment to purchase, lease or develop a property. This can avoid unexpected and costly fire safety system upgrades after a lease or contract is signed.
Find out what permits are necessary for opening my business
Permit Partner is a free online tool that allows you to discover permits and licenses, estimates fees, and easily connect with local agencies to start a business. To start, visit the Permit Partner website and click on the “Business” portal.
COS OpenForBiz COS OpenForBiz is a free online resource that provides users with roadmaps with step-by-step checklists for starting a business in Colorado Springs. The website allows the user to scroll through the steps and download a printable PDF roadmap that highlights each phase and step of the process. To start, visit the COS OpenForBiz website and click on your type of business.
For construction businesses or services, additional permits may be required through the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.
Learn if it is legal to run a business from my home
Learn information and requirements of opening a business from your home at the City’s Home Occupation website.
Most home-based businesses will require a Home Occupation Permit through the City’s Planning and Development department. To start, call the Development Review Enterprise at (719) 385-5982, or email email@example.com.
Permit Partner is a free online tool that helps determine if your type of business is allowed from your home. Use Permit Partner to discover permits and licenses, estimates fees, and easily connect with local agencies to start a business. To start, visit the Permit Partner website and click on the “Business” portal.
Learn how to leverage enterprise zone tax incentives
Learn what kind of funding is available for small businesses
How to obtain a Liquor License
Liquor and Beer Licensing in Colorado is dual-jurisdictional with both Colorado Department of Revenue and City of Colorado Springs licensing required. All matters related to Liquor and Beer licensing, however, must be directed the Office of the City Clerk in the City of Colorado Springs.
Find Resources for Low-Cost Internet and Computer Access
Resources and Tools
Small Business Development Tools
Whether you’re just getting started or have already opened for business, see if these tools can help you with your small business.
COS OpenForBiz is a free online resource that provides users with roadmaps with step-by-step checklists for starting a business in Colorado Springs. The website allows the user to scroll through the steps and download a printable PDF roadmap that highlights each phase and step of the process.
Permit Partner is a free interactive online tool that allows users to discover the required permits and licenses, estimate fees, and easily connect with local agencies to start a business in Colorado Springs. Permit Partner allows a new business owner to explore the requirements and save multiple project ideas in their own account.
Note: For Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs, this tool is easily translated into Spanish from the homepage.
SizeUp COS provides valuable data-driven intelligence to empower small businesses, entrepreneurs, and our region’s economy. Search SizeUp COS and make informed business decisions with local, sector-specific data. Find customers, suppliers and competition, optimize your marketing, and download demographics. Establish or escalate your small business in Colorado Springs with SizeUp COS.
The COS Workforce Asset Map, or WAM!, is a tool created by the UCCS Economic Forum to help employers fill positions, learn about labor supply and wage data, and much more.
Small Business Resources
Aside from the City, there are small business resources provided by the county, the state, and private entities. Click the links below to see what resources are available to your business.
- Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC
- The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC provides business owners with informational resources like demographics, city comparisons, property searches, opportunity zones, and the SizeUp COS tool.
- Colorado Springs Hispanic Business Council
- The Hispanic Business Council promotes and serves Hispanic businesses by promoting creativity, development, growth, and sustainability.
- Colorado Startup Loan Fund
- The Colorado Startup Loan Fund provides loan capital to mission-based lenders to provide loans to Colorado entrepreneurs and small business owners needing capital to start, restart, or restructure a business, and those who are not able to obtain a loan from traditional lenders. This is a revolving loan fund, meaning the dollars will be used to continue supporting new entrepreneurs as loans are repaid.
- El Paso County Enterprise Zones
- County Enterprise Zones offer tax incentives and reductions for businesses in designated parts of the county.
- El Paso County Pikes Peak Workforce Center
- The Pikes Peak Workforce Center connects vital businesses with work-ready job seekers and employer-driven services.
- Permit Partner Permit Partner is a tool for future business owners that helps you estimate the cost of potential permits, applications, inspections, and licenses for your new business. It takes the information you provide and generates a list of estimated fees and required approvals.
- Pikes Peak Library District Business Resources
- The Pikes Peak Library District provides free business resources - business plans, legal information, investment resources, adult education tools, research guides, makerspaces, demographic databases, food industry training, engravers for branding, LinkedIn Learning in multiple languages, etc. All you need is a library card to begin your entrepreneurial journey
- Property Search
- The Chamber & EDC’s Property Search tool helps you discover your next site with an extensive database of currently available properties.
- Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
- The SBDC is dedicated to helping to exist and new small businesses grow and prosper by providing free consulting and no- or low-cost training programs.
- Small Business Resource Book
- The resource book is one of the most successful and comprehensive business books in the nation. The online version updates entrepreneurs with the ever-changing information they need to know.
- SourceLink Resource Navigator
- The Chamber & EDC’s resource navigator connects small businesses to resources like COS Open for Biz, Peak Startup, and the Small Business Advisory Council.
- Southern Colorado SCORE
- SCORE helps small businesses succeed through mentoring, workshops, a library of resources, and much more
- Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce
- The Women’s Chamber of Commerce empowers its members through education, advocacy, and collaborative partnerships.
- Thrive Network
- The Thrive Network offers a free, 4-month program, to inspire people to view challenges as chances for economic advancement and offers a framework for launching a successful business.
- Veterans Business Outreach Center
- The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business.
Colorado Springs for Small Business Advancement
Colorado Springs for Small Business Advancement (COSSBA) brings together entrepreneurs, business service organizations, government agencies, and business advocates in the Pikes Peak region to provide support and shape the future of how small businesses navigate the regulatory process. COSSBA is both an advisory group that provides strategic direction to the work of small business advancement and a working group that executes small business advancement projects. By bringing together government agencies, business services, and business advocates, COSSBA is a unique organization consisting of leaders from across the business world working to make Colorado Springs the #1 City for small businesses in the US. For more information contact Shawna Lippert at (719) 385-6803 or Shawna.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado (BBB)
- Bryan Construction
- City of Colorado Springs - City Clerk's Office
- City of Colorado Springs - Communications
- City of Colorado Springs - Community and Neighborhood Planning
- City of Colorado Springs - Economic Development
- City of Colorado Springs - Fire Marshal & Fire Code
- City of Colorado Springs - Planning and Development
- Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC
- Colorado Springs Utilities - Office of Economic Development
- Community & Cocktails
- David Commercial Real Estate
- Day Lily Salon and Spa
- Downtown Partnership Colorado Springs
- El Paso County - Environmental Health Division
- El Paso County - Public Health Department
- Pikes Peak Regional Building Department
- Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
- Thrive Network
- City of Colorado Springs
- Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
- Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC
- Colorado Springs Fire Department
- Coloardo Springs Utilities
- Downtown Colorado Springs
- El Paso County
- Pikes Peak Regional Building Department
- Pikes Peak Workforce Center