September 6, 2022
Contact: Ellen Stein | Marketing Director
970.844.8808 | [email protected]


First Southwest Community Fund named an official Colorado Startup Loan Fund lender
Partnering with OEDIT to offer more funding options to Colorado’s small businesses

Alamosa, CO – First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) is pleased to announce it was selected to be an official lender for the Colorado Startup Loan Fund introduced on September 2 by the Polis Administration and the Business Funding & Incentives Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). This fund sets aside $31.1 million to offer new financing options for small business owners across Colorado looking to start, restart, or restructure a business, with an emphasis on serving those who have historically encountered barriers to bank financing. 

“It is vitally important that there are equitable opportunities for small business owners to access financing to launch and grow their businesses. We are delighted to partner with Governor Polis’s administration and OEDIT to make capital more readily available through the Colorado Startup Loan Fund. This lending capital will be deployed via our Innovate Onwards Fund,” said Azarel Madrigal, Executive Director of FSWCF.

By offering smaller-than-average loans, the Colorado Startup Loan Fund seeks to make financing a possibility for entrepreneurs who might not qualify for or require a larger loan. Through this program, FSWCF is offering loans under $150,000 to small business owners and entrepreneurs in Colorado who apply through the Innovate Onwards Loan Fund Program

Program Details
Innovate Onwards Fund Level I – Loans up to $150,000: Start-Ups or Small Businesses

  • Eligible businesses: Start-Ups (less than two years old), Small Businesses in rural Colorado
  • Loan size: $10,000-$150,000
  • Interest rate: 3.5%
  • Length of loan: 7 years
  • Use of capital: Working capital and operating needs
  • Loan payments: Deferred for first 3 months

FSWCF also specializes in working with rural entrepreneurs, specifically women-, Native American-, Hispanic- and Veteran-owned, and Spanish speaking business owners who have never carried a loan, or lack the traditional assets to qualify for a loan.

To help FSWCF and other partnering lenders implement the program, OEDIT is hiring Community Outreach Consultants to identify Colorado entrepreneurs and business owners who might benefit from the funding. Consultants will also work with the small business owners to prepare cash flow statements and other paperwork so that they are vetted and ready for the FSWCF to service.

“Small business owners add so much vibrancy to Colorado communities. They start food trucks that bring us new options for eating out, develop new lifestyle or gaming apps, or start the salon that becomes a community favorite. The Colorado Startup Loan Fund will help these entrepreneurs obtain financing that they can use to launch their business and feel more financially stable as they establish and grow their revenue,” said Jeff Kraft, Director of OEDIT’s Business Funding & Incentives Division.

To learn more about the Colorado Startup Loan Fund, interested entrepreneurs and business owners can visit the OEDIT website at

To initiate the loan application process with FSWCF, visit


About First Southwest Community Fund

First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) was created in 2015 by First SouthWest Bank to provide risk mitigating gap funding. FSWCF is headquartered in Alamosa, CO but serves rural Colorado in its entirety. Unlike the rest of the state, rural Colorado has not felt the same levels of increased economic prosperity post-recession. In fact, Colorado’s three persistent poverty counties lie in the rural south.

FSWCF has a primary mission of supporting tangible economic opportunities throughout rural Colorado by making much needed non-traditional capital (loans) available to emerging and existing businesses, which in turn create, retain and grow jobs. Oftentimes, it is the FSWCF loan that enables a bank to get to a “yes” while staying within the parameters of its loan policy.

By promoting economic development in distressed communities, FSWCF helps create and retain jobs while encouraging the development of critical community infrastructure. More information can be found at

 About Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works with partners to create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. Under the leadership of Governor Jared Polis, we strive to advance the State’s economy through financial and technical assistance that fosters local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado. OEDIT offers a host of programs and services tailored to support business development at every level including business retention services, business relocation services, and business funding and incentives. Our office includes the Global Business Development division; Colorado Tourism Office; Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office; Colorado Creative Industries; Business Financing & Incentives division; the Colorado Small Business Development Network; Cannabis Business Office; Colorado Office of Film, TV & Media; the Minority Business Office; Employee Ownership Office; and Rural Opportunity Office. Learn more at