A Community-Driven Approach to Economic Development

The Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP) helps rural communities create economic development strategies by providing free technical assistance and consulting services.

Previously known as Colorado Blueprint 2.0, the program was created after conversations with thousands of people in communities across the state. Despite its name change, the program’s goal is still the same: to create and retain jobs in rural areas of the state.

Communities can apply for any of the seven of the program’s initiatives:

  • Certified Small Business Community
  • Community Placemaking
  • Coworking 101
  • Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) Studio 201
  • Creativity Lab of Colorado
  • Film Festival
  • Grow Your Outdoor Recreation Industry

Eligible communities must describe how their region is rural or distressed. For example, communities that have ever qualified for the Rural Jump-Start Program or the Enterprise Zone Program are eligible for RTAP.

Communities who have taken part in this program in the past may reapply for a different initiative. When applying, communities need to:

  • Align goals with the initiative’s vision to the community’s existing economic development goals
  • Show that project will have an exceptional or transformative impact on the community with clear measures of success
  • Show success of past community engagement efforts
  • Have ongoing projects that support the initiative
  • Assign a project leader with a track record of effectiveness
  • Provide evidence of past collaboration between project teams
  • Demonstrate community support for project
  • Provide financial commitment of project

Each initiative also has unique eligibility requirements. Refer to each initiative for those requirements.

Accepted communities must complete surveys and submit quarterly reporting for a two-year period after completing the program.

How to Apply

Application Checklist

  • Online application
  • Letter of support from the project lead
  • Short biography of the project lead
  • At least three letters of support showing community buy-in
  • A list of individuals and organizations who will support the effort and their roles in the initiative

The application opens once a year in the spring. Applications in 2020 are open March 15 and close on June 1. Community leaders need to apply through the OEDIT application portal.

Some initiatives require additional application materials.

CRAFT Studio 201
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Coworking 101
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Grow Your Outdoor Recreation Industry
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Certified Small Business Community
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Film Festival Initiative
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Creativity Lab of Colorado
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Community Placemaking
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From corner to corner, each area of our state offers a unique set of qualities, putting Colorado on the map for business and lifestyle.

Where Access Meets Advantage

We sit just west of the center of the country, or for geography buffs, right on top of the Continental Divide, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely made up of mountains. Our central location makes an ideal home base to cater to markets across North America and beyond. Now that you know how to find us, welcome to colorful Colorado

Where Access Meets Advantage

We sit just west of the center of the country, or for geography buffs, right on top of the Continental Divide, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely made up of mountains. Our central location makes an ideal home base to cater to markets across North America and beyond. Now that you know how to find us, welcome to colorful Colorado.

Where Access Meets Advantage

We sit just west of the center of the country, or for geography buffs, right on top of the Continental Divide, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely made up of mountains. Our central location makes an ideal home base to cater to markets across North America and beyond. Now that you know how to find us, welcome to colorful Colorado!

Where Access Meets Advantage

We want to introduce you to one of the most centrally located areas of the United States. In fact, we’re situated exactly midway between Canada and Mexico on the vertical access and Tokyo and Frankfurt horizontally, allowing you to cater to international markets worldwide. Now that you know how to find us, welcome to colorful Colorado!


Explore our 14 Regions

The state of Colorado is a state positioned for access and opportunities. Discover our regions unique benefits for global companies.

Region 1: Golden Plains Region
Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma

Home to both the Oregon Trail and some of the world’s largest manufacturers of mozzarella and meat, the Northeast Golden Plains region upholds a strong economic climate with homestead roots. As a leader in food production, agriculture and manufacturing, the area is committed to creating opportunities for business and families, while maintaining its tradition of stewardship through rural regionalism.

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Region 2: Northern Colorado Region
Larimer and Weld

Situated against the Rocky Mountains to the West and Wyoming to the North, Northern Colorado and its counties of Weld and Larimer are known for a culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit among a set of diverse industries. Consistently ranked nationally as one of the best places to live, work and pursue lifelong learning, this region is a thriving hub of both commerce and culture.

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Region 3: Denver Region
Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, and Jefferson

Consisting of nine booming counties, the Denver region is globally recognized for its culture of innovation, arts and outdoor recreation. It has access to one of the best airports in the country, a major transit infrastructure, highly rated education system and numerous federal laboratories across a variety of leading industries. A spirit of collaboration and enterprise has helped this region become the fastest growing, and most sought after, areas in the country.

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Region 4: Pikes Peak Region
El Paso, Park and Teller

Backed by a successful track record of business success stories, the Pikes Peak region continues to march ahead in areas of defense, health and financial services. Within the region’s thriving and diverse communities, businesses have access to substantial infrastructure, outstanding educational facilities, year-round outdoor activities, and a productive and happy workforce, which all play into a company’s bottom line.

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Region 5: Central Plains Region
Lincoln, Elbert, Kit Carson and Cheyenne

While the Central Plains region encompasses a “small town feel,” the area is a perfect fit for businesses looking for easy access to both urban and local markets. Access to major railways and airports, quality education systems, and abundant resources for energy and agriculture production provides businesses and residents the ideal atmosphere for establishing roots.

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Region 6: Southeast Colorado Region
Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero, and Prowers

The six-county Southeast Colorado region, is an agriculture powerhouse, producing a high volume of exports—from livestock, to vegetables and sunflowers. In addition, the region’s resources in energy, including world-class wind and solar development, waste energy and oil and gas activities, put the region at the forefront of innovative and engaging practices. The region also includes a growing manufacturing sector and a technology sector that is seeing gigabyte fiber being installed in many of the communities.

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Region 7: Pueblo Region

Though small in geographic size, the resilient Pueblo region located in Southern Colorado is flourishing in business opportunity and growth, specifically in areas of aerospace and rail manufacturing, healthcare and logistics. As the region’s population and downtown development continue to rise, businesses value the competitive advantages that attracted them to the area, such as the skilled workforce, customized workforce training programs, low cost of doing business, and abundant water capacity.

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Region 8: San Luis Valley Region
Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache

Surrounded by the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the east and the great San Juan Mountains in the west, the San Luis Valley is an agricultural powerhouse. The Valley is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty and unique cultural diversity. Often called the “Land of Cool Sunshine”, the region is at the center of solar energy development.

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Region 9: Southwest Region
Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan

Built on traditional “western” commodities and heritage, the Southwest region has quickly shaped into an outdoor haven where tourism, cultural resources and recreation thrive. The region includes four National Monuments, Mesa Verde National Park, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and the only two Indian Tribes in Colorado. Its entrepreneurial spirit is demonstrated by the high number of locally grown businesses with both a national and international presence including StoneAge Water Blast Tools, Mercury Payment Systems (Vantiv), Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Tuffy Security Products and Osprey Packs.

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Region 10: Central Western Slope Region
Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel

Celebrated for its spirit of community support and innovative collaboration, the Central Western Slope region is a geographically diverse area with unparalleled access to equally diverse outdoor recreational activities. Businesses and individuals alike appreciate the accessibility to affordable housing, verdant agricultural land, space to build state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and boasting abundant water sources, higher education and training opportunities, a strong workforce, a nationally ranked hospital, and global travel connectivity.

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Region 11: Northwest Colorado Region
Garfield, Mesa, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt

Nestled at the top of the Western Slope, the Northwest Colorado region comprises a wealth of natural resources that provide an abundance of economic opportunities. Surrounded by the wild beauty of the region and a timeless community spirit, Northwest Colorado is an enduring example of innovation through collaboration.

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Region 12: Rocky Mountain Resort Region
Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Pitkin and Summit

The Rocky Mountain Resort region is internationally known for providing a classic Colorado lifestyle with year-round resorts and unique high-alpine environment to guests from around the world and to locals alike. The area’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities provide the backdrop for a diverse economy grounded in collaboration and sustainability.

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Region 13: Upper Arkansas Region
Lake, Chaffee, Fremont, and Custer

An outdoor paradise in Central Colorado, the Upper Arkansas region is home to a thriving economy centered on vast opportunities in tourism and outdoor recreation. Known for a superior quality of life and friendly attitude towards businesses, this region embodies the authentic west as a destination area to live, work and play among the state’s finest natural setting.

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Region 14: Raton Basin Region
Huerfano and Las Animas

Located at the southernmost border of the state, the rural communities that make up the hearty Raton Basis region are committed to strengthening the region’s workforce and creating economic opportunities together. Bolstered by animal and crop production, as well as tourism from the area’s outdoor recreation culture, this region is a model of economic prosperity.

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Rural Development Email Updates

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Katharina Papenbrock Rural Opportunity Representative (West) katharina.papenbrock@state.co.us
Tom Monaco-Headshot Tom Monaco Rural Opportunity Representative (South) tom.monaco@state.co.us
Greg Thomason Greg Thomason Rural Opportunity Representative (East) greg.thomason@state.co.us