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By Jennifer LeDuc

Bring your business cards and a solid handshake to a special networking and information opportunity next month. The Third Annual Jeffco Business Resource Expo, presented by the Jefferson County Business Resource Center, is a collaboration with county and neighborhood chambers of commerce, community and area business groups, state and local public services, agencies and other various resources serving small and large businesses operating in Jefferson County.

“Jefferson County is a business favorable community,” said Amira Watters, executive director of the Jeffco Business Resource Center. “There are so many resources here, and many business owners just don’t know about them,” said Watters, on the impetus behind the Expo. “They have a lot of support and resources here, and we want them to know that.”

With libations and door prizes to make the evening even more attractive, Watters explained the numerous vendors and representatives, all together for an evening, presents not only an exceptional networking experience, it also offers attendees insight into the commercial growth and economic vision within Jeffco, and direct access to the expansive breadth of free and low-cost services offered by Jeffco agencies – such as the array of  business, education and research tools available through the Jefferson County library network, connecting with an internship coordinator from a local school, making in-person introductions and connections, or exploring the multitude of programs and workshops provided through the Jeffco BRC. The free event, said Watters, “is invaluable.”

Initiated three years ago, the event also kicks off Small Business Resource Week – a proclamation made last year by Jeffco Commissioner Donald Rosier, which Jefferson County intended as a way “to promote the cost-effective training programs and education resources for small businesses to access throughout the county.”

The Expo continues to grow each year. Last year, more than 300 owners, entrepreneurs and those still considering whether to make that leap attended the event, gaining access to more than 30 area agencies. With Colorado’s continued robust economic climate, unemployment rates historically low and already nearly 30,000 new business filings statewide, in conjunction with the countless advantages to living and doing business in Jeffco, Watters expects this year’s turnout to be just as strong. “I think Jeffco is thriving more than ever before,” she said.

The Jeffco BRC is not a county government office, but rather a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created as a resource hub for all cities and towns of Jeffco, from Arvada to Buffalo Creek, offering the new and existing business community a wealth of affordable, relevant programs and services, including business advising, workshops, classes and mentoring programs. As a non-profit, it depends on strong relationships with established businesses and other entities for support and sponsorship. “It’s a smart use of taxpayer dollars,” said Watters,  “and it’s expanding constantly and evolving as the business environment evolves.”

Those relationships also happen to provide for some attractive Expo door prizes. While Watters is keeping the this year’s slew of prizes under wraps, last year’s included a Grand Lake cabin getaway package, business coaching services, hotel packages, health club memberships, symphony tickets, dry cleaning, and Broncos tickets. Sponsorship opportunities for September’s event are still available

Attendance to the Monday evening event on Sept. 18 is free to all Jefferson County business owners, or residents contemplating a new venture, by invitation or advanced registration. The executive director emphasized the organization’s commitment to helping business achieve success.  “If we can’t personally help you,” said Watters, “we can connect you with someone in the community who can.”

The event takes place at Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 W. 6th Avenue Frontage Road in Golden from  4 to 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 18.

To register, inquire about sponsorship or any educational programs offered by the Jeffco BRC, contact Amira Watters at 303-996-8976 or awatters@jeffcobrc.org.