Mi Casa to close Women’s Business Center in Pueblo

Mi Casa Resource Center is closing its Pueblo Women’s Business Center on June 30 after 12 years operating in the community.

Ending the program is a result of a difficult economic environment, according to an email sent by the agency.

“Many of the foundations, corporations and government agencies that Mi Casa has depended on for funding of the Women’s Business Center have scaled back on charitable giving as a result of the downturn,” the email said. “Others have redirected funding to emergency human services to care for families negatively impacted by the prolonged recession.”

Mi Casa isn’t able to meet matching funds required by the Small Business Association, one of the primary financial supporters of the Southern Colorado Women’s Business Center. Despite it’s efforts to raise money to sustain Mi Casa’s small business development programs in Pueblo and Southern Colorado, there isn’t enough money to continue.

“We deeply regret this situation,” the email said. “But due to our declining revenue sources and lack of fundraising success, we are left with no positive options.”

For years, Denver area programs have subsidized the Pueblo program, said Katharine Benton, communications and grants manager for Mi Casa.

“But given the lack of local fundraising success, we couldn’t keep doing that,” she said. “This is a financial decision, the Pueblo team was meeting its goals, but the local fundraising match wasn’t there.”

The SBA is considering whether it will allow another organization to continue to operate the Women’s Business Center in Pueblo.

During the past 12 years, Mi Casa has trained 900 entrepreneurs, provided counseling services to 1,320 existing businesses and helped launch 325 new Colorado businesses at the Pueblo center. Since 2000, the economic impact of those new businesses tops 450 jobs created, $4.6 million in capital from lenders and $13.6 million in revenue.

Mi Casa operates a Women’s Business Center in Denver as well, and plans to keep that operation open.