Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation Announces New Executive Director for Pikes Peak SBDC
Colorado Springs, Colo. – March 22, 2023 – The Colorado Springs Chamber & Economic Development Corporation (Chamber & EDC) today announced that Brandon Eldridge has been named Executive Director for the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center (SBDC) effective April 3, 2023. This position plays a key role in supporting small businesses in the Pikes Peak region as they launch, grow, and create jobs.
Eldridge is a champion of the Colorado Springs business community and brings over 22 years of management experience that spans various sectors including technology, banking, and retail. Most recently, Eldridge worked as a Market Director of Underline, overseeing the business sales department and community engagement. Before that, he held roles at Chase Bank and Vectra Bank. Since moving to Colorado Springs in 1998, Eldridge has been actively involved in the community. He presently serves as the president of Leadership Pikes Peak. He is also the current president of the Council of Neighborhood Organizations (CONO), a community-building organization. Eldridge graduated from Colorado Technical University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.
“We greatly value our partnership with Pikes Peak SBDC and our shared belief that small businesses make up the backbone of Colorado’s economy. As the SBDC network collaborates across the state to support even more businesses as they start, grow, and create jobs, we look forward to working with Mr. Eldridge to continue the Pikes Peak SBDC’s strong legacy in El Paso and Teller counties,” said Nikki Maloney, Business Director at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), which houses the state SBDC office.
The Pikes Peak SBDC supports small businesses in the Pikes Peak region through the provision of small business consulting and low- or no-cost training to help them start and grow. The SBDC also connects small business owners with resources and financing available through OEDIT.
“Small, locally owned businesses are the heart of any community. As host of the Pikes Peak SBDC, we are pleased to welcome Brandon Eldridge as our new Executive Director of the SBDC. He brings tremendous energy and passion to this role. We will all work together to address business challenges, encourage growth, and support success,” said Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer, President & CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC.
Small businesses are impacted by a unique set of challenges some of which can be difficult to overcome. The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) notes that the demand for small business lending has outpaced supply, and fewer small firms are receiving requested financing in full. In addition, these businesses also face business operations and marketing challenges that impede growth. The Pikes Peak SBDC helps entrepreneurs navigate these setbacks.
“Partnering with the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center is critical to ensuring our Business Community in Woodland Park and the Teller County region have the top resources needed to be successful. Whether starting up a business or moving an existing business to a new level, we appreciate being able to utilize the SBDC office for assistance,” noted Greater Woodland Park Chamber President Debbie Miller. “We are delighted to work with the new Executive Director Brandon Eldridge as he brings his leadership expertise to this organization,” she said.
According to the OEDIT, in 2022, Colorado had a total of 690,000 small businesses, which account for 99.5% of all Colorado businesses and employ nearly half of the state employees. Small businesses in Colorado have also taken a lead in exports from the state. A report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative points out that in 2016 (the latest year available) a total of 5,582 companies exported from Colorado; of those, 4,857 (87%) were small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees. Small and medium-sized firms generated 28.1%of Colorado’s total exports of goods in 2016. Eldridge will lead the Pikes Peak SBDC to expand its reach to connect more small businesses with resources to help them grow and expand their market share.
“I am excited to join the Pikes Peak SBDC and work with other community partners to support small businesses. I have a passion for the Pikes Peak region, and I can’t wait to help businesses and identify solutions to help them thrive,” said Eldridge.
“Brandon has the experience needed, having worked extensively with both small businesses and non-profits, to continue the path that the SBDC has been on for the past several years. I look forward to how he will lead his team to serve our community even better,” said Terri Hayes, President & CEO of Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce.