The Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center has moved to the Steamboat Chamber, where it will continue to provide services to the community, while Colorado Mountain Collage looks for ways to continue its incubator program.
“We know it’s been a long-standing part of the community, and it’s important to the community,” said Carrie Click, a spokesperson for Colorado Mountain College. “We want to be supportive of it continuing.”
The Entrepreneurships Center was established in 1999 and has assisted hundreds of local businesses in Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley. Over the years, the programs have had homes in Bogue Hall on the Steamboat Campus and then inside the academic center when it opened in 2012.
However, in the past several years, the program and incubator have been in search of a home, as Colorado Mountain College works to balance its programming and provide opportunities for students and services the community needs.
Sometimes, that means making a tough choice as in 2021, when the campus opened a state-of-the-art nursing lab on the Steamboat campus that was built out to look like several rooms in a hospital nursing suite. The lab was complete with high-tech “patients” that have vital signs, can tell students where their pain is and can be programmed for various medical scenarios.
The center and incubator moved into the new Honey Stinger building in 2020 to make room for the new laboratory.
“I think it’s important that people know that nursing (simulation lab) and our nursing program are really important to the college because we’re educating nurses that can serve the community,” Click said. “It’s always a question as to how do we best partner with the community and serve them … We add programs and it’s always a balancing act of how much we can we can fit into a building.”
COVID-19 slowed interest in the incubator program the past couple of years, and Honey Stinger needed the space for its growing business.
The past couple of months Randy Rudasics, manager of the Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center, has been working to find a new space. In March, the program relocated to an office in the Steamboat Chamber, where it is continuing to serve the community.
Click said the move will allow the center to further collaborate with the economic development arm of the Chamber, as it continues to offer business counseling, workshops and seminars to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The center, for now, will no longer offer an office-based incubator or space to host tenants.
“We’re working on partnerships and solutions for the future, and that we want what’s best for the Steamboat community,” Click said.