More specifically, Mr. Martinez will lead the Small Business and Start-up Advisory Group, which is also a new creation of the Mayor’s that was introduced during his first 100 days in office. The Mayor’s office has explained that the purpose of the group is to make Denver the “Start-Up and Small Business Capital of the country.” To do this, they say that the group will focus on high-growth, innovative start-ups that create new products and services, hopefully resulting in the creation of high-paying jobs.
Previously, Mr. Martinez was a board member of the Regional Transportation District (RTD), where he was partially responsible for budget oversight, and before that he worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City for over 35 years.
Admittedly, I am a skeptic when it comes to the government announcing new groups, committees, or advisory boards, because I don’t necessarily believe that the costs of the projects are usually worth the returns. However, I am quite interested in following Mr. Martinez and the emphasis on small business development that the city has put forth as a new priority.
When I first heard about the city’s new project, the only thing I could think was “oh great, the city’s adding new salaries to the budget that won’t be worth their cost.” But, as I looked further into the issue, my perception changed. As I learned more about Denver’s OED, the skepticism lessened and I am now excited to learn more about the new programs and watch them develop.
Given Mr. Martinez’s background with the Federal Reserve Bank, the natural question I had was “how will Mr. Martinez be able to provide funding and availability to start-up capital to small businesses through the city?” Funding is generally the key to small business development. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Denver currently has two lending programs for new businesses: the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program, and the Neighborhood Business Revitalization (NBR) loan program.
Each program offers lending services for businesses located in designated neighborhoods throughout the city, in an effort to develop local economies where business and financing are lacking. In a time where private lending has slowed (if not dried up altogether) it is fantastic to see the city stepping in and truly providing a public service – financing and capitalization. Given Mr. Martinez’s background in banking, I can only hope that much of his work will be to broaden and expand those programs.
It remains to be seen how effective the Small Business and Start-up Advisory Group will be. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. But, for the first time in a long while I can say that I support the direction the city is going, and I hope to be able to report on future successes of Mr. Martinez and his new program.