Owner: Mowa Haile
Type of projects: Commercial Construction. 80% public sector, 20% private
Colorado's economy is thriving, but small businesses in particular, require a clear vision, a receptive marketplace and leaders with perseverance and determination. Mowa Haile, owner of Sky Blue Builders and a member of the Pinnacol Board, shares his insights on the current business environment, overcoming challenges, and advice for fellow business leaders.
The inspiration behind Sky Blue Builders stemmed from Haile's corporate career and his desire to explore new business opportunities. Joining forces with friends, Haile founded Sky Blue Builders in 2009 during the Great Recession. The company's vision was to differentiate itself by focusing on customer and employee experiences. They aimed to not only provide construction services but also maintain customer assets. One of their keys to success is their incredibly talented and engaged team which the company built by prioritizing employee well-being by offering benefits beyond the norm, such as an annual education stipend.
Haile's personal journey as an immigrant to Colorado at a young age greatly influenced his entrepreneurial path. He had to adapt to a new world, overcome language barriers, and witness his parents starting from scratch. However, they instilled in him the belief that hard work can lead to success in America.
Haile highlights the support he received from successful business leaders in the community, who acted as his mentors and played a crucial role in Sky Blue Builders' growth from a small team of four to 40 employees.
Haile said; “The willingness of business leaders to assist and guide fellow entrepreneurs is a unique aspect of Colorado's entrepreneurial landscape and a key to its success.”
As it did for many businesses in the state, the COVID-19 pandemic presented a once-in-a-career challenge for Haile. Sky Blue Builders faced obstacles such as limited access to capital, payroll taxes, and hiring difficulties in a tight labor market. His advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to persevere through challenges. Haile emphasizes that success requires resilience and determination, even when quitting seems tempting.
Whether it's securing a small project that opens doors to larger opportunities or witnessing the personal and professional growth of their employees, the company values each success. They approach all projects with the same level of care and dedication, recognizing their clients' needs and the importance of community engagement. Sky Blue Builders encourages all employees to volunteer at the non-profits they support, reflecting their commitment to giving back.
Haile's background in the tech sector ensures that the company stays at the forefront of construction technology and practices. They have a continuous improvement mentality, constantly seeking ways to enhance their processes and implementing new technologies based on recommendations from their team.
Haile offers advice to entrepreneurs and business leaders, emphasizing the importance of passion, perseverance, and mentorship. Following one's passion and having the determination to overcome challenges are key to success. Additionally, seeking mentorship from experienced leaders is crucial, as they can provide guidance and support throughout the entrepreneurial journey.
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