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Building Bridges for Entrepreneurs

Denver Metro SBDC Connects Small Business to CDOT

Scott Ashermann doesn’t believe in burning bridges – he believes in building bridges better. His company, BDI performs nondestructive evaluation services on critical infrastructure globally.

What does that mean?

Aschermann’s company works to check the health of all types of civil structures. BDI also manufactures monitoring equipment that tracks important engineering parameters, such as degradation of bridge decks or stress levels in a steel member, among others.

That work is critical. According to the 2017 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 9.1 percent of U.S. bridges are structurally deficient – and about 188 million trips are made across them each day.

To grow his business, Aschermann participated in LEADING EDGE for Transportation & Construction in 2017, hosted by the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (Denver Metro SBDC) and Connect2DOT, an innovative program partnership between the Colorado SBDC Network and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

This nine-week program helps contractors develop the best growth strategy for their business and connects small businesses to the contract opportunities they need to expand.

“We partnered with SBDCs statewide to leverage resources for small business in the transportation industry and connect them to CDOT … It’s a partof our mission to help support small businesses and reduce barriers to get them involved,” said Cathy Kramer, program manager for Connect2DOT. “Without this relationship with SBDCs we wouldn’t be able to offer this statewide.”

Since participating in the program, BDI has excelled in product and service sales and had $5.8 million in new business going into 2018. As of September 2018, BDI has retained 31 jobs, added 13 new positions, increased product sales by approximately $1.5 million and new business revenue has increased to $13.7 million.

“LEADING EDGE allowed me a nine-week period to focus on my business and not be distracted by the day-to-day,” Aschermann said. “As BDI’s numbers show, the lasting effects have been tremendous.”

Given its strong relationships with the Army Corps of Engineers, state departments of transportation and other large infrastructure owners, coupled with its new production facility for manufacturing sensing equipment, BDI is well-positioned to deliver the information needed to promote bridge and other civil infrastructure resiliency in Colorado, the United States and around the world.

“We love partnering with organizations in our community who are committed to providing opportunities for small businesses,” said Abram Sloss, executive director of the Denver Metro SBDC. “Connect2DOT is no exception in their commitment to small businesses, and it’s been especially rewarding to see how small businesses can partner to address some of our transportation challenges.”

Connect2DOT partners across Colorado to strengthen small businesses. Last year alone they:

Break New Ground with Your Business

The Denver Metro SBDC has two opportunities for businesses focused on mobility, transportation or
construction.

Trout Tank: Mobility – Pitch Accelerator

The Metro Denver SBDC is seeking start-up and existing businesses who are focused on mobility and infrastructure, and looking for exposure and funding, to be a part of this eight-week program, where businesses will be paired with a mentor, refine a pitch and get financial coaching. Initial pitches are Oct. 24.

LEADING EDGE: Transportation & Construction

Offered by the Denver Metro SBDC and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), this nine-week course helps transportation and construction contractors determine the best growth strategy for their business. The LEADING EDGE will run in March 2019.

Learn more about both programs at denversbdc.org.

Jennifer Kurtz  is the Cyber Program Director for Manufacturer’s Edge and Denver Metro SBDC Consultant