A love of creating, the outdoors and ability to see a big gap in the transportation market turned this former Denver police officer into a Colorado-proud entrepreneur.
Like his previous venture with escape rooms, Eric Hill could see people longed to escape to the rugged Colorado mountains but lacked the right vehicle to get them there. “I wanted to start something, new,” Eric said. “And saw an opportunity to meet a need for transportation that resonated in Colorado.” This involved working with companies in and out of state to convert passenger vans into 4×4 rental vehicles that could handle mountainous terrain while carrying a load of people and their gear.
To find funding for his startup, Rugged Van Rentals, Eric talked with other small businesses like his. A fellow Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) client, Mountain Side Gear Rental, recommended he contact CEF about a loan. Eric did and qualified for financing that allowed him to market his company more broadly and buy three vans in the company’s name. “Having a loan from CEF helped me survive the early stages of my business which was invaluable,” Eric recalled. “It also allowed me to contribute to the economy by hiring others which was a great feeling.”
Eric only sees more growth for his company now that the word is out about his off-roading vans. In an interview with Business Den, he differentiated his company from the current camper van craze this way: “It really gives people the option to get safely to where they want to go…they’re actually equipped for what Colorado weather can throw at you.”
As for equipping his business and others in Colorado for growth, Eric had this to say about working with CEF: “To have a lender willing to fund and believe in what I want to do gives me hope. Because we Colorado-proud companies are all chasing the same thing. Our dreams.”