The 2nd Annual M2 Conference: Growth & Financing Strategies for Manufacturers, held recently at the Tivoli Ballroom in Denver, Colorado, featured strategic insights from some of the region’s top experts in manufacturing and finance.

Panels of manufacturers and finance professionals discussed topics ranging from economic and political sentiment surrounding the manufacturing industry to lending options and trends. A key conclusion: now is a great time for manufacturers to seek financing, particularly in the Rocky Mountain Region, where the economy is strong and investing in hot segments like craft breweries remains steady.

M2 2016: Manufacturing Financing EventAccording to event panelist Bob Ward, president of Centennial Bank and Trust, “there are some headwinds everybody needs to be aware of,” such as post-Brexit uncertainty and manufacturing hiring struggles. But in his opinion, “the Colorado economy will keep chugging along.”

SDR’s principal Chris Bouck reiterated the positives that SDR Ventures has seen in the market. “We see the velocity of capital starting to increase relative to manufacturing,” he told the crowd of manufacturers. However, he urged attendees to be conservative in their use of capital, and only to deploy it when they know they will earn more than they are being charged. “You can burn through a lot of capital pretty quickly,” he cautioned.

Tom Bugnitz, a panelist from Manufacturer’s Edge, expounded on the political sentiment around manufacturing. “Politically, manufacturing says middle-class jobs,” he stated. “So, there’s a lot of political and administrative support.” Lawmakers are hoping to help promote efficiency and innovation to springboard reshoring efforts, which, according to SDR’s latest Quarterly Manufacturing Report, have been falling short in recent years.

From the perspective of a manufacturing company, some key considerations must be kept in mind when building a brand that’s both desirable for lenders and set up well for success in the marketplace. Breweries, for instance, must find ways to distinguish themselves in an increasingly saturated market, and the key to doing so is with a well-defined business plan, said Joe Van Haselen of First National Denver. Founder and CEO of Red Idea Partners, Ross Shell, said he seeks out flexible brands, with the potential to extend into multiple categories. “If it’s a food or beverage product, we have to believe it’s not a niche of a niche of a niche,” he explained.

But at the end of the day, for companies looking for financing, picking the right partner is key. “You’ve got to have somebody who syncs up with your objectives. The key is alignment with the team,” concluded John Pfannenstein, president and founder of Rockmont Capital Partners, Ltd.

To read a full event recap, please visit