Colorado Export Grants Support Businesses As They Grow

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Colorado is home to a thriving advanced industries ecosystem and for those working in this knowledge-based economy, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is here to support your growth with strategic export grants to help open new markets. 

These export grants are specifically designated to support small, advanced industry businesses (defined as advanced manufacturing; aerospace; bioscience; electronics; energy and natural resources; infrastructure and engineering; and, technology and information) and are specifically designed to aid businesses at key inflection points such as the Advanced Industries (AI) Early Stage Capital and Retention Grant, the State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant, and the Advanced Industries (AI) Export Grant. Each grant meets a specific business need as they enter the global market.

The AI Early Stage Capital and Retention Grant aids start-ups facing a lack of investment in the initial stages of creating their technology. To qualify, recipients must be in the process of creating a viable product that fulfills a market need, can be manufactured in Colorado and will be exported globally.

Once a company is already exporting, the STEP Grant assists them in entering new global markets. These grant funds may be used to attend trade shows as businesses look to grow their international markets. International trade shows are among the most effective ways to expand visibility, meet potential buyers, and gauge market interest.

The AI Export Grant is used to offset international business development and marketing costs, such as international trade missions, design and production of international marketing materials, and translation services. The use of these funds offer situational flexibility but must be approved by OEDIT.

In addition to these export grants, OEDIT facilitates access to its Global Consultant Network, designed to offset the cost of valuable consulting services which include in-country market research, local regulatory and business environment research, support in identifying in-market partners and help in setting meetings with potential partners.

Many small businesses across the state are already utilizing and achieving success with the help of these export grants and the Global Consultant Network. A good case study is HeartHero – a portable automated external defibrillator (AED) production company. As a recipient of both the AI Early Stage Capital and Retention Grant and the STEP Grant, HeartHero has increased their reach while delivering on their mission to empower anyone, anywhere to save a life. Anthony Verdeja, Vice President of HeartHero’s Sales and Strategy, stated, “We know how important treatment with an AED is. We know it works to save lives. The problem is that most of the time, when people go into cardiac arrest, they don’t have immediate access to an AED.” 

For HeartHero, these grants have made all the difference. Vereja expressed that being able to support exporting their product is critical to aligning with their mission. “Cardiac arrest is a global epidemic – it affects people all over the world.” HeartHero has been particularly successful through their attendance at international trade shows because of the ability to connect with several global vendors, all in one place at one time. 

VAIREX air systems, a producer of high pressure, high efficiency regenerative air compressors, is another example of the impact of OEDIT’s export grants. VAIREX is a recipient of the AI Early Stage Capital and Retention Grant, a STEP Grant and the AI Export grant.

VAIREX CEO Ski Mulburn believes that air compressors play a vital role in the future of energy production. VAIREX supplies their air compressors to companies that use fuel cells, technology that generates energy with a chemical reaction rather than traditional combustion. Mulburn explained that fuel cells are vital in a transition to clean energy. VAIREX strives to share their commitment to the environment through high efficiency, low cost technology to create a greener world.

VAIREX exports 100% of their products out of the state, and two-thirds out of the country. With at least one customer in 23 different countries, VAIREX is proud to share Colorado’s excellence, innovation, and commitment to sustainability with the world. According to Mulburn, the AI Export Grant has made an immeasurable impact when making exporting decisions: “…it can be the difference of saying yes or no to a trade mission that insures a new customer abroad.”

Exporting can introduce your business to new, competitive markets while showcasing  Colorado’s innovation across the globe. Businesses in the Advanced Industries that are interested in applying for export grants should visit choosecolorado.com/ai or contact Nicole Gunkle at nicole.gunkle@state.co.us.

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Nicole Gunkle International Grants Manager nicole.gunkle@state.co.us