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Register now for Colorado Entrepreneurship Marketplace registration now open

Registration for the fourth annual Colorado Entrepreneurship Marketplace, to be held in Pagosa Springs Oct. 7 and 8 at the Pagosa Springs High School, is now open.

The Colorado Rural Development Corporation’s new website, www.ruralcolorado.org, is open to accept registrations, exhibitor booth space requests, sponsorships and to give you the opportunity to display and sell your Colorado produced goods at the Colorado Corners Market.

This statewide conference is expected to draw 350-500 attendees from all over the state to Pagosa Springs.

This is the first time this conference will be held over a two-day period of time. There will be more than 70 dynamic educational tracks focusing on six major themes: Agriculture, Technology, Finance, Marketing, Business Development and Community Development. There will be tracks for burgeoning businesses, businesses interested in taking the organization to a higher level, and for leaders who wish to find how they can expand their community’s vision and growth.

After the tracks, another important part of the Marketplace will be the networking opportunities at receptions and on Pagosa business tours. Speakers and exhibitors will be available to answer questions and communicate on a more informal basis. Networking, reception and dinner opportunities will take place at Growing Spaces, SHY RABBIT and Pagosa Brewing Co., just to name a few of the participating local businesses. There will also be plenty of time for our attendees to discover Pagosa, as the sessions end each day by 3 p.m.

A unique aspect of the conference will be a Youth Entrepreneur track on Friday, Oct. 7. This all-day session is designed specifically for young adults from the region. The current 14-year-old president of Lickity Split Chocolate Company out of Blanding, Utah, will speak at this track, as will former Young Entrepreneurs of the Year. Not only will these leaders speak to our young adults, but there will also be sessions on how communities can better engage youth in entrepreneurial activities.

Registration costs are amazingly affordable: a one-day ticket is only $30 and to attend both days is only $50. This price includes your choice of educational tracks, continental breakfasts and breaks, lunches and the evening receptions. If you are interested in displaying and selling your Colorado-based products, a vendor space is $100. Exhibitor space for a service is also $100. Exhibitors or vendors are allowed to attend educational tracks.

This conference is definitely a statewide event: people from across the state will converge on Pagosa Springs to enjoy the conference while having the opportunity to see a beautiful part of Colorado. The conference will be held at a time of the year when the state is in full fall color bloom — another enticement for attendees to travel, see the beauty of Colorado and further their business and education goals.

From a logistics standpoint, we are seeking volunteers for this event. We will need people to work registration, man the visitor table, direct attendees to classrooms, help serve the breaks and lunch, set up and break down, and help with keeping the high school tidy throughout the conference. We are also looking to promote Pagosa businesses while event participants are in our community. Any promotional material you would like to donate is greatly appreciated as we will be creating welcome bags for all attendees. Local businesses are welcome to create a coupon to entice people to come to your business, or to place an object into the bag such as a pen, note pad or other promotional item. We will need 450-500 pieces.

Pagosa Springs is honored to host this major event. We will release more information about the keynote speakers and educational tracks in weeks to come. This is a time for Pagosa businesses to shine. If you are interested in helping out in any way, need more information on vendor space or space for the Colorado Corners Market, or would like to find out more about being a sponsor, please contact Mary Jo Coulehan, local conference coordinator, at 264-2360, or at director@pagosachamber.com. Questions can also be directed to Michelle Alcott, Colorado Rural Development Coordinator, at malcott@.ruralcolorado.org.

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