Colorado Enterprise Fund |40th Anniversary Highlights



Click here for 40th year event photos

Click here for 40th year media coverage 

Click here for 40th year success stories




  • Greater Denver Local Development Corporation was created (CEF’s original name) as a pass-through intermediary for SBA 502 loans to fund Mountain High Yoghurt Company’s relocation to an old dairy facility at 22nd and Arapahoe
  • Denver Gets SBA Program (Rocky Mountain News article) to support rehabilitation of Denver, one of 12 cities across the country selected for pilot program


  • Receives federal tax-exempt status from the IRS
  • Piton Foundation makes $400,000 investment in CEF creating direct loan fund for small businesses in Denver’s urban core


  • Piton loan converted to grant support
  • Hires first Executive Director, Ceyl Prinster, who operates CEF part-time from her home office


  • Moves into donated office space at Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) building in Denver


  • Selected as one of 20 intermediary agencies nationwide to administer new $250,000 SBA Microloan Program offering loans of $25,000 or less to small businesses not qualified for bank loans
  • Expands service area to 4 Denver Metro counties


  • Moves to Sherman Street office
  • Hires additional staff to support loan processing


  • Launches Boulder Microloan program with $150,000 in combined bank, city and CEF capital
  • Develops Bizworks youth program


  • Begins operating under name Colorado Enterprise Fund to reflect statewide service area and types of businesses supported
  • Expands service area to 5 Denver Metro area counties
  • Certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the US Department of the Treasury


  • Applies and receives first CDFI Fund Award $275,000
  • Hires additional staff to support loan servicing


  • Receives second CDFI Award $50,000
  • Launches state-commissioned child care loan program to expand quantity and quality of child care facilities and skills training
  • Receives Boulder Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year and Nonprofit of the Year awards


  • Receives third CDFI Award $500,000
  • Awarded grant from State of Colorado
  • Qualifies for Equity Equivalent Investments
  • Receives SBA Financial Services Advocate State and Regional Awards
  • Expands service area to 10 counties along the Front Range


  • Receives SBA New Markets Award Raises loan maximum to $50,000


  • Receives fourth CDFI Award $300,000


  • Receives Denver Nonprofit of the Year Award from Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce


  • Partners with CHFA and City of Denver to bring $40 Million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) real estate financing to Colorado to support high impact development projects in low income neighborhoods


  • Receives fifth CDFI Award $1,100,000


  • Launches second Boulder Microloan Program with $325,000 in capital from local banks, the City of Boulder and CEF


  • Receives sixth CDFI Award $750,000


  • Selected to administer new SBA 7a Community Advantage Loan Program designed for community-based lenders to disperse loans up to $250,000 to eligible small businesses
  • Launches Arvada Microloan Program with $300,000 in capital from the Arvada Economic Development Agency and CEF


  • Launches Longmont Loan Fund with $240,000 in initial capital from the City and CEF to finance small businesses in downtown district
  • Becomes participating lender with the US Department of Transportation Short Term Lending Program
  • Receives seventh CDFI Award $1,453,806
  • Receives first CDFI Healthy Foods Financing Award of $750,000 to support small businesses providing access to fresh, healthy foods


  • Receives second CDFI Healthy Foods Financing Award $800,000
  • Receives eighth CDFI Award $1,347,000
  • Receives CARS CDFI-industry rating of AA3 for impact performance and financial strength and performance
  • Launches Weld County Microloan Program with $500,000 in initial capital from the county and CEF to assist small and emerging businesses
  • Creates Business Relief Loan program to assist small businesses affected by historic flooding and forest fires along the Front Range
  • Creates Revolving Loan Fund with $300,000 in capital from banks and CEF to finance Rocky Mountain Innosphere start-ups


  • Receives Top Company Award from ColoradoBiz magazine
  • Partners with The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) to raise awareness of healthy foods in rural and urban areas via ReFresh collaborative
  • Receives funding from CHFA, The Colorado Health Foundation, The Piton Investment Fund and Kaiser Permanente Fund to support healthy food businesses via the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F)
  • Receives $1Million from the Calvert Foundation to support new Ours to Own Community Investment Note campaign
  • Raises loan maximum to $500,000


  • Receives SBA Community/Rural Lender of the Year Award
  • Awarded $2 Million from the CDFI Fund
  • Awarded $3 Million from Goldman Sachs
  • Employs 19 staff with 5 vacancies in new positions
  • Governor HIckenlooper proclaims October 15 Colorado Enterprise Fund Day


Reached $50 Million in loans to over 1800 businesses to create and retain more than 15,000 jobs in Colorado

1976: It all began when a local yogurt company needed a loan to move into an old Denver dairy: