A letter from Executive Director Kenneth W. Lund:
We want to take a moment to thank our partners for their support and reflect on a very successful legislative session for Colorado’s economy. We had a bold agenda this year, and we are happy to say that each bill is on the way to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.
We worked hard this session to move forward our goal of making Colorado the most globally competitive state in the nation. These bills create exciting opportunities for us to strengthen Colorado’s businesses, create jobs, and entice companies in other states to make Colorado their new home:
HB 1001 establishes a grant program to promote commercialization of new technologies and growth among Colorado’s small high-tech startups. The Advanced Industries Accelerator Act targets advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, and information technology. Colorado-based advanced industries will be eligible for proof-of-concept grants, capped at $150,000; early stage capital and retention grants, capped at $250,000, and infrastructure grants, capped at $500,000. These advanced industries already account for 30 percent of Colorado’s workforce, and this additional funding will help them continue to grow and sustain a long-term innovative ecosystem that creates highly-skilled, high paying jobs and prepares Coloradans to fill them.
In tandem, HB 1193 creates a comprehensive international export development program for Colorado’s advanced industry businesses that are new to exporting or expanding into new international markets. The bill helps our advanced industries here in Colorado to reach a global market, increasing profits and jobs here at home.
HB 1002 boosts funding for Colorado’s 14 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) by $200,000 per year, leveraging matching federal dollars. The SBDCs provide coaching and consultation to startup companies needing help with such basics as writing a business plan and securing capital. With only $85,000 in state dollars in 2011, companies seeking training and consultation from SBDCs produced 1,700 new jobs, a great rate of return.
HB 1003 funds a $200,000 pilot program to provide management and technical training and advice to 20 “second stage” Colorado businesses – those 6- to 99-employee companies that have significant growth potential to create primary jobs.
With HB 1142 and 1265, the state’s Enterprise Zone Tax Credit program will undergo some changes that further help small businesses move or expand in Colorado’s economically distressed areas. Small businesses account for 99 percent of certifications and 95 percent of the EZ land area is in rural Colorado. We believe the program is a critical component of the state’s balanced portfolio as it ensures all of Colorado has access to economic development support. The legislation is good news for Colorado’s small businesses, who will be able to invest more money in creating jobs, health care for employees, and creating new jobs.
One of our most important incentives in attracting new companies, the Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit program, has been extended for another five years with HB 1287. This tool has incentivized companies to create hundreds of jobs here in Colorado, and HB 1287 ensures that we will be able to continue to offer this incentive.
HB 1301 continues the Colorado PTAC program, which offers education, counseling and technical assistance to entrepreneurs to compete for government contracts. The bill also creates a task force to evaluate procurement strategies in other states, discuss management practices, develop a public-private partnership and develop a plan for the long-term funding of the centers. In addition to business development bills, we also celebrate with Colorado Creative Industries who received additional support for their Creative Districts program with HB 1208. And the business community welcomed the success of HB 1080 which expanded the definition of “aircraft manufacturer” to allow more businesses in the aviation sector
We look forward to working with each of you as we leverage these programs to strengthen Colorado’s position in the global economy, create jobs and help our companies succeed.
Thank you again for your support in helping boost Colorado’s economy.
Kenneth W. Lund