April 2022

2022 Small Business Week in the Pikes Peak Region

2022 Small Business Week for the Pikes Peak Region was June 4 – 8th! We kicked off our annual event with with the Business Bash and Awards Celebration at Red Leg Brewing Company following by impactful workshops and the State of Small Business annual event designed to educate, celebrate and champion local small businesses. 

Co-hosted by Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado (BBB), Small Business Week in the Pikes Peak Region is the largest Small Business Week celebration in the State of Colorado (and the U.S.A. in 2020).

We look forward to celebrating the Pikes Peak Region Small Business Week in June 2023!

Saturday, June 4: Business Bash & Awards Celebration

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event description:

Join the Better Business Bureau and Small Business Development Center for a business party of EPIC ’80s proportions!

Join us at Red Leg Brewing Company for a Business Bash with beer, food and friends as we kick off Small Business Week 2022! At this family-friendly event, enjoy delicious food, music, activities, lawn games and themed zones: Sports & Rec., Tourism, Business Resources, and Arts & Creative small businesses.

Don’t forget to wear your best RAD 1980’s outfit to potentially win prizes and get a shout out from the Small Business Week stage! (*must be present to win)

Please note: No pets are allowed – service animals only.

Come join us for fun and festivities as we honor the finalists in the following award categories!

award finalists:

Small Business Person of the Year 

  • A Music Company Inc. – Amy Whitesell
  • Arlene’s Beans – Arlene Padilla
  • Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort LLC – Torie Giffin

Small Business Champion of the Year 

  • Joe Aldaz – Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Mitchell Cohen – Anthem Music Enterprises
  • Reanna Werner – HR Branches

Veteran-Owned Business of the Year 

  • LaVida Massage Colorado Springs – Monique Walkes
  • PureLee Redefined – Kenya Lee
  • Winds of Change Remodeling, Inc. – David Thompson

Family-Owned Business of the Year 

  • Angler’s Covey – David Leinweber
  • Bob Penkhus Motor Company
  • Spice Island Grill LLC – Claudette Hutchinson

Young Entrepreneur of the Year 

  • Felipe’s 109 – Robert Velasquez
  • Kinship Landing – Bobby Mikulas
  • The Nonprofit Makeover & Boss Babe Networking – Kristen Sharpe

business bash activities include:

  • Tourism Tent: Get your ‘80s photo taken and posted to Visit COS social media. Meet with reps from the Space Foundation Discovery Center and Flying W Ranch.
  • Sports Tent: Get your picture taken with Vibes mascot, Toasty, and visit with reps from Olympic City USA, United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum, Pride Soccer, and Sports Corp. Try your hand at cornhole, rowing, and mini soccer. Check out the 1996 Atlanta Olympic torch and buy Olympic City merchandise.
  • Arts Tent: Get a free poem written for you “on the spot” using old typewriters, courtesy of the poets from Becoming Poetry. Experience live body painting by local artist Sadie Welsh.
  • Kids’ Corner: Enjoy yard games with the kids.


A limited quantity of VIP tickets (150) are available and include:

  • Special release beer
  • Free pint and take-home beer
  • Commemorative mug and shirt
  • Red Leg Brewing Company brewery tour
  • Patio seating with premier view of the awards presentations

Don’t miss this opportunity to reconnect with your small business community and support small businesses in the Pikes Peak Region! We hope to see you there!

Presented by:



Monday, June 6: Marketing Trends 2023

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Social media is constantly evolving and keeping up with the trends can be difficult. Companies who deliberately made marketing plans for 2021 had to continually pivot and adapt to quickly changing market. 2022 will be no different. Join us as we talk about key marketing strategies for your company to focus on this year and into 2023.

  • Produce campaigns that evoke emotion
  • Are you using video-based content and live streaming correctly?
  • Talk about what matters: sustainability, social impact, climate change and more
  • Content is King-What content are you creating? Is user-generated content part of your strategy?
  • Use Keywords to increase website traffic
  • Start getting comfortable with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Cybersecurity is critical
  • Be inclusive- Representation in marketing is the importance of catering to your target market. The more inclusivity you have the more appealing your brand will be.


Dani Barger
Vice President-Marketing and Communications for the Chamber and EDC


Amy Gillentine
Publisher, Colorado Springs Business Journal & Indy

Tim Zercher
CEO, A-Train Marketing

Alexea Veneracion, Director of Communications for Visit COS

Hosted By:

Tuesday, June 7: Modern Leadership

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Do you have what it takes to be a Modern Leader?

Cultural revolutions from social justice movements, the great resignation, climate changes and other relevant topics, are revealing a new generation of modern leaders who don’t see leadership as something that establishes and protects power. They want power to be shared as a means of creating change for all. This democratization of leadership is rapidly gaining momentum, and few leaders and companies are prepared for it.

According to Forbes: Modern leadership involves sharing information, creating a higher level of trust, and promoting a sense of inclusion and belonging. These leaders care and invest more time into their team members’ wellbeing, career goals, contributions, and accomplishments.

Becoming a modern leader requires redefining and reshaping what leadership means. Here are some areas that this important discussion will focus on.

  1. Connect to Purpose– What is your Why? People deliver better results and with more passion when they understand why and how their work advances their company’s or team’s higher purpose.
  2. Connect to Accomplishment– Modern leaders communicate clearly and regularly what success looks like. Modern leaders don’t let work become defined by tasks, but rather by outcomes.
  3. Connect to One Another– Traditionally, leaders disseminate information on a need-to-know basis, creating silos among team members and sowing seeds of distrust. Modern leaders share information broadly to encourage collaboration and motivate employees to help each other succeed, creating a sense of teamwork and inclusion.


Mina Liebert
Director of Community Impact, Pikes Peak Community Foundation

Dr. Jonathan Lee
Internal Medicine
Kaiser Permanente


Chris Garvin
Deputy Executive Director, El Paso County Department of Human Services

Jim Harris
U.S. Bank Colorado Springs Community Bank President
Commercial Team Leader for the Mountain States

Traci Marques
Executive Director, Pikes Peak Workforce Center

Brian Risley
President & Prinicpal Architect, CRP Architects PC

Hosted By:

workshop sponsor:

Wednesday, June 8: State of Small Business

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The pandemic has not stopped business. Entrepreneurs are innovative, gritty and empowered to see continued success for their existing businesses or even starting a new one. Between 2020 and 2021, over $73 billion was spent on funding small businesses, and that funding supported over 1.2 million jobs. Customers are purchasing services and products based on finances but even more importantly, on emotional connection. There is also a new breed of business owners called social entrepreneurs, that are using business to solve social and environmental issues as well as make a profit. Using data from the SBA and SBDC, we’ll take a look at what’s happening in the small business sector and what we can expect with rising prices, workforce shortages and a weakened supply chain. In addition, the SBDC and BBB will be providing a report to the community on the impact of services on the Pikes Peak Region.


  • 11:00 – 11:30: Networking
  • 11:30 – 12:00: State of Small Business & Lunch
  • 12:00 – 1:00 pm: Speaker & Panelists


Gerry O'Brion, Keynote Speaker
Founder, What Big Brands Know®

Aikta Marcoulier
Regional Administrator, Region VIII (Rocky Mountain Region), U.S. Small Business Administration

Jonathan Liebert
CEO, Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado

Hosted By:

presented by:

Did you miss last year's event? Stream it here!


EPIC Marketing


EPIC Evolution


Optimizing the Value of your Business


EPIC Purpose


EPIC Minority Business


Small Business Week Awards Celebration


Presenting Sponsor

Corporate Sponsor

Business Bash Sponsor

Award Sponsors

Media Sponsors

State of Small Business Sponsor

Workshop Sponsor

Beverage Sponsor

Supporting Sponsors

Small Business Supporting Sponsors

Thank You To

Hosted By

Zachary Barker

Hailing from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Zachary Barker is a certified economic developer who specializes in developing and delivering entrepreneur-led economic development strategies, acceleration training programs and sustainable support systems for community and economic development organizations. After spending near 20 years in entrepreneur growth consulting and community development, Zachary has established a sustainable and scalable methodology for building entrepreneurship ecosystems, driving growth through a clear, easy-to-execute growth blueprint model. Specifically focused on communities seeking economic diversification, Zachary’s goal is to deliver support models that allow communities to define metrics and measures that fit the local vision of success.

Zachary is recognized as an expert economic development professional by multiple organizations including the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), and Oklahoma University’s Economic Development Institute. He has successfully built and accelerated entrepreneur ecosystems in Nashville, Tennessee; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Colorado Springs, Colorado. In addition to his economic development expertise, Zachary is also recognized as an expert trainer in revenue growth and support consulting for entrepreneurs.

Zachary holds a master of science degree in economic development from Murray State University, as well as a bachelor of business administration degree from Middle Tennessee State University. He is happily married to his beautiful wife, Dr. Nancy Dubuisson Barker, and is daddy to two rescue dogs, Millie the Bean and Java Lava.

In 1979

In 1979, the Village People recorded the song “In the Navy.” A couple of the verses were, “If you like adventure, don’t wait to enter,” and “Come on and protect the motherland.”

Although only a lad of five years old, that is exactly what Michael Tipton set out to do. Mike was born in Agana, Guam, in 1974, which is where his parents were stationed—Mike’s father was in the Navy Seabees. Mike’s family moved to Africa for a couple years before finally settling in Oklahoma in 1979. Mike grew up in the Sooner state and graduated from high school in 1992, after which he joined the Navy.

His tour of nine years saw him aboard three nuclear submarines—the USS Tucson, the USS Boise and the USS Albany. He excelled in radio and satellite communications and ultimately was actively involved in US Joint Forces Command (SATCOM). When 9/11 happened, Mike was involved in troubleshooting presidential communication support for Air Force One.

After leaving the Navy, Mike worked at Schriever AFB, where he developed a communications support shop to support SATCOM, requiring him to travel internationally to train various operations with the process.

Being of an entrepreneur spirit, Mike took a step away from the safety of employment and started Integrity Communications Solutions. With a belief that “communications” was the number one problem facing the world today, Integrity was focused on the design, development and enhancement of new and existing communications throughout the world.

The innovative ideas and concepts of Integrity saw the business begin to grow contracting with military and government support operations that involved major changes, additions and diversifications of existing systems.

Integrity now has 36 employees, many of which are retired military with required security clearances, operating in engineering, design, development and training capacities. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, with satellite offices in Georgia and Maine, a large portion of their work centers around the training of military, civilian and government contractors to manage, operate and maintain the nations nuclear communications backbone structure. This support is provided to the United States and many of its allies. Throughout the growth of Integrity, Mike has always found time to meet with and offer advice to numerous different startup businesses as he is thankful for the success of integrity and is committed to give back to others. Mike has been very adamant about the help and support that he and the company have received from the Pikes Peak SBDC.

 Daphne Shih Gebauer

Daphne Shih Gebauer is the founder and managing attorney of Tava Employment Law. Daphne has been a complex civil litigator her entire career. She focuses her practice on litigating employment disputes and advising employers and employees on their rights and obligations under state and federal law. Having been an employee, employer, and business owner, Daphne understands the competing demands of business, regulation, and workplace rights. Daphne founded Tava Employment Law to work towards fair, safe, and equitable workplaces for all.

Prior to founding Tava Employment Law, Daphne was Counsel at Charlson Bredehoft Cohen & Brown, one of the Washington D.C. area’s most-recognized employment firms. While at Charlson Bredehoft, Daphne litigated many discrimination, retaliation, and breach of contract claims on behalf of employees, and advised employers on internal policies, accommodation and leave issues, wage and hour matters, investigations, and employee discipline. She was also previously an attorney in Foley & Lardner LLP’s complex commercial litigation and white collar and corporate defense groups, where she worked in the areas of bid protests, distribution/franchise litigation, and health care compliance and fraud.

Daphne graduated from the New York University School of Law, where she was Marden Competition Editor for Moot Court, Professional Chair for the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, a volunteer with the New York Battered Women’s Project, and interned with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Law & Justice Unit at ABC News in New York City. She obtained her B.A. (Honors) from the University of British Columbia.

Daphne is licensed to practice before the courts of Colorado, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. She is a member of the National Employment Lawyers’ Association, Plaintiff’s Employment Lawyer Association (Colorado), Association of Workplace Investigators, Ben S. Wendelken Inn of Court, and the Colorado, Virginia, and D.C. Bar Associations. She is a consultant with the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center and the current President of the Babywearing Society of Colorado Springs (BabywearingCOS).
Daphne has four loud children and has been thrilled to call Colorado Springs home since 2013. When away from her desk, she can often be found skiing, camping, hiking, and trying to get plants to grow. She is a decent cook and a lousy gardener.

Shane Sherman

Shane Sherman is the president of 18 Sierra Financial, a private business lending and financial consulting firm. After aiding businesses at the start of the Covid pandemic, he continued to raise capital through 18 Sierra which is invested into business across Colorado.

Prior to his current role, he was a senior leader at Danaher, a fortune 150 firm where he led one of Danaher’s business units to double-digit growth, including assisting merger and acquisition efforts. Prior to his time at Danaher, he co-founded a leadership development startup that trained NFL players and coaches.

His career started in the U.S. military serving as an Army Green Beret, with most of his career at Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs. He conducted multiple global deployments where he led fellow Green Berets and Allied soldiers. Shane has received numerous military awards for his valor on the battlefield.

Shane currently serves on the Pikes Peak Hospice Board of Trustees and Colorado Springs Leadership Institute. He is an adjunct faculty at UCCS, a Colorado Governor’s Fellow, an SBDC consultant and was a committee member for Exponential Impact providing businesses with bridge loans during the Covid-19 outbreak. Shane received his bachelor of science in economics at Santa Clara University and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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