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Small Business: Propelling Colorado's Economy

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Dear Fellow Coloradan,

Starting a new business shortly after the recession began wasn't easy, but Wy Livingston-- of Lakewood, Colorado -- was undaunted. Through a small-business loan, hard work and investing her own money, Wy made Wystone's World Teas in Lakewood a thriving business that won the 2010 Minority Enterprise Business Award for Retail Firm of the Year. And she continues to expand her business today throughout the Denver metro area.

Wy is one of the many women entrepreneurs across Colorado who are leading the way in innovative small-business job creation -- enhancing our state's vibrant economy, supporting local jobs and strengthening our communities.

The facts speak for themselves. Colorado consistently ranks among one of the best places for job creation, it's one of the top states to start a business and it has one of the best economic climates in the nation. And Colorado's women entrepreneurs are an essential part of our state's economic resurgence.

I've had the pleasure of visiting many of these businesses -- from Buena Vista to Lyons and Pueblo to Pagosa Springs -- and meeting the women who own them. As we mark National Small Business Week, I want to highlight several small-business owners who are propelling our state forward and bolstering our economy.

Entrepreneurs like Jane Pinto. Jane wanted allergen-free, organic snacks her kids and their friends could trust, so she founded a consortium of businesses all labeled under the Pinto Barn umbrella in Salida. With an emphasis on sustainable business practices, Pinto Barn marries Coloradans' healthy ways with our concern for clean air and clean water.

Sara Kinney -- a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate -- is the owner and CEO of Rim Technologies, a defense contracting firm in Colorado Springs. Sara noticed that veterans, women and youth in her community were underrepresented in STEM fields, so she began recruiting them and supporting local education initiatives. Sara's initiative shows how entrepreneurs can increase access to opportunity in their communities while helping their bottom lines. I'm thankful for Sara's involvement in my roundtables for women-owned small businesses, which have helped me shape policies that I've brought to Washington.

Carla M. Barela served as president of Pueblo's Cortez Construction Company since 1990, and is still seeing strong results. Carla's company has had some big clients, such as the U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Carson. Her strong leadership at Cortez Construction has received well-deserved recognition, earning her the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's award for Businesswoman of the Year.

Do you know an innovative woman-owned small business in Colorado? Share it with me on Twitter.

Small businesses owned by people like Wy, Jane, Sara and Carla and many others, are the cornerstone of our communities and primary engines of our nation's economic growth. That's why I've long fought in the U.S. Senate to support small-business owners. From increasing access to credit through my bipartisan Small Business Lending Enhancement Act to holding small-business roundtables across our state, I've been committed to ensuring Colorado's entrepreneurs have the resources they need to grow their businesses and build their American Dream.

I'll continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Colorado's women entrepreneurs to keep our small businesses growing and our communities thriving.

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