While it may seem like a product of current trends toward buying and eating local, National Small Business Week started back in 1963. Each year, the President of the United States issues a proclamation to announce National Small Business Week and recognize the importance of small businesses across the country.

Small businesses may have more economic impact than you realize. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, “More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.”

This year’s Colorado Small Business Week features a host of workshops, festivals, and events across the front range. Denver will play host to most of these, ranging from workshops for small business owners to gatherings to get the community involved with local companies. Head to the Colorado Small Business Week website for the full event schedule, but here are some of the highlights:

Tennyson Street Small Business Passport Crawl

Photo: Tennyson Street Small Business Passport Crawl

For Denver residents looking for a fun way to support local small businesses, check out the Tennyson Street Small Business Passport Crawl. Pick up a free passport at any participating business, then get your passport stamped as you visit each shop and score deals at the shops along Tennyson. The offers run May 1-7 and include BOGO drinks at Local 46, half off Allegro Coffee Roaster’s nitro cold brew coffee, 20 percent off a book at BookBar, and BOGO Colorado Whiskey flights at Tennyson’s Tap.

Bonus: Each stamp equals one entry in a raffle drawing for some sweet prizes, and this year the proceeds benefit Denver Public Schools. Drop your passport at one of the drop-off locations by May 10th or attend the VIP wrap party at Local 46 to be entered to win.

Marketing Classes

If you’re looking for better ways to market your small business, there are a wealth of classes available throughout the week. Social Media Marketing, Marketing Basics, and Facebook: Business Pages are a few of the sessions available.

Food Truck Cook-Off

The food truck cook-off will take place on May 2nd at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. Ten food trucks will compete for the Best of 2016 and People’s Choice award. Admission is $10 at the door.

1 Million Cups Denver

1 Million Cups Denver meets every Wednesday from 9 to 10 a.m. at Colorado Lending Source. Startups are given six minutes to pitch, then take 20 minutes to brainstorm with the audience on how they can improve their venture.

National Small Business Association Events

On May 4th, Denver will host several national Small Business events, including a Celebrating Women’s Business Forum, Coffee with SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, and an awards celebration to recognize this year’s Colorado Small Business Week award recipients.

Photo: National Small Business Week, Denver

Meet Your Maker Manufacturing Demos

Photo: Meet Your Maker

Meet Your Maker gives local Colorado manufacturing companies a chance to showcase the way they make their products. Presented by InkMonstr, the event will feature beer making demos from Breckenridge Brewery, video and stop-motion editing from Ogib Creative, ice cream making by Sweet Action, and a ski-making demo by Meier Skis, to name a few. Admission is free, plus there are sweet giveaways and plenty to eat and drink.

Lending Info Sessions

If you have questions about lending, Thursday is your day. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Lending Edge Info Session and there will be a Lender’s Panel Discussion at the Commons on Champa.

Later in the evening, Colorado Lending Source, Colorado Enterprise Fund, ACCION, Community Enterprise Development Services, the Office of Economic Development, and Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute are partnering at the Microfinance Happy Hour to teach you how to navigate the funding options for your company.

Social: Go local during this year’s Colorado Small Business Week #DreamSmallBiz #SmallBusinessWeek