Meet Mike O’Donnell, Executive Director of the mission-based nonprofit lender Prairie Rose Development Corp., and your 2022 candidate for Colorado Secretary of State.
Mike holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Melbourne and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
He met his wife-to-be, a native Kansan, at graduate school in Australia and after losing the toss, legally immigrated to the U.S. in 1988 and subsequently became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
In 1990, Mike became the executive director of the University of Kansas Small Business Development Center and an adjunct faculty member at the business school before starting his own consulting firm in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1997.
In 2000, the opportunity arose to relocate to Colorado and join, then lead, the mission-based nonprofit lender, Colorado Lending Source, where Mike began expanding outreach and capital access to new and existing small business owners across the length and breadth of Colorado, building that organization from 3 employees in 2001 to more than 40 at one stage. During his twenty years heading Colorado Lending Source, Mike assisted thousands upon thousands of Colorado-based businesses secure financing under various Small Business Administration loan programs.
In 2019, Mike received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Development Finance Agencies for his outstanding contribution to finance.
After retiring from Colorado Lending Source at the end of 2020, Mike founded the nonprofit mission-based lender Prairie Rose Development, which facilitates 0% Kiva loans to otherwise financially excluded entrepreneurs in Colorado. Mike is a huge supporter of entrepreneurs who are strengthening their respective Colorado communities by starting and growing new small businesses.
Mike currently serves as the Board Chair of Startup Colorado, is a keen (but slow) runner, and lives on a small farm in Yuma County where his family grows and raises most of their own food.