15 Rural Colorado Communities Chosen for Second Round of Blueprint 2.0 Initiatives Designed to Boost Economies

Stephanie Copeland, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) along with local economic development professionals from around the state, gathered in Meeker on July 31, to announce the recipients of the second round of the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives.

“Blueprint 2.0 is a great example of how Colorado is going above and beyond existing resources to support the needs of our rural regions,” said Lt. Governor Donna Lynne. “We congratulate today’s recipients and look forward to seeing how these regions leverage the new services and resources to help strengthen their economies and communities.”

Blueprint 2.0 leverages state partnerships and specialized resources to address the unique economic development goals of rural Colorado. Launched in 2015, Blueprint 2.0 is a bottom-up effort to turn regional feedback on local economic needs into a statewide set of initiatives to advance the economies of rural communities.

“OEDIT is committed to building rural economies through a variety of innovative programs and initiatives,” said Copeland. “We are excited to announce the communities that will benefit from the second round of Blueprint 2.0 initiatives and look forward to working with communities across the state.”

Recipients of the second round of Colorado Blueprint 2.0 include:

  • A Data-Driven Approach to Economic Development: Steamboat Springs
  • Brand Building for Communities: Logan County, Moffat County and Custer County
  • Community Placemaking: Hayden and Kiowa
  • Coworking 101: Sterling, Delta, and Rio Blanco County
  • Creativity Lab: Grand Junction and Grand Lake
  • Film and Major Production: Georgetown and Victor
  • Grow Your Outdoor Recreation Industry: Trinidad and Silverton
  • Tourism Promotion and Development: Leadville and Rio Blanco County

The second round of Blueprint 2.0 offered six new initiatives based on participant feedback and economic opportunities. Each initiative includes services not previously provided by the State, and leverages state resources and partnerships with organizations outside of the state of Colorado to provide technical assistance to regions who expressed an interest in pursuing the initiatives.

“We are excited to be helping communities address everything from placemaking and branding to housing and economic development,” said health and wellness champion and senior regional manager for regional development Meridith Marshall. “We had great success with the first round of Blueprint 2.0, and we are looking forward to the second round of initiatives and what they will do for Colorado.”

Many communities applied for Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives, and during the application process, communities and regions were asked to demonstrate collaboration, strong local leadership and solid support for the initiative they chose to pursue. Initiatives will be deployed between now and March 2018.

In 2016, OEDIT led 27 initiatives, of 10 different offerings, in 10 of Colorado’s 14 regions during the first round of the Blueprint 2.0 initiatives. The original Blueprint, conceived during Governor John Hickenlooper’s first term, was an overarching economic development strategy for the State.


Colorado Tourism Office Now Accepting Applications for Marketing Matching Grant Program; Due Sept. 15

The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), a division of the Office of Economic Development and International Office (OEDIT), announced today is now accepting applications for the Marketing Matching Grant Program from Colorado not-for-profit organizations looking for assistance with tourism promotion. Applications are due in two days by 4 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 15.

The annual competitive grant program offers financial assistance to Colorado’s tourism industry for the purpose of enhancing marketing efforts to attract visitors to the state. The program will award up to $600,000 in grants.

Travel regions throughout the state are eligible for these grant dollars, as well as statewide associations, organizations and other nonprofit entities that engage in promoting travel throughout Colorado.

Grant awards will be up to $25,000, and for every $1 the awarded organization allocates to the program, the CTO will provide $1 in matching funds. Up to 20 percent of the match may include services such as staff time or donated services or materials relevant to the grant project. Funds will be awarded to multiple organizations in both the regional/partnership and statewide categories.

The CTO Marketing Matching Grant Program is meant to provide funding to Colorado not-for-profit organizations for the purpose of promoting the state or a region as a tourism destination.

For more information regarding the grant program and instructions on how to apply, please click here.  For additional help using the online grant system, or any other questions, contact grant manager Elizabeth O’Rear at 303-892-3893 or elizabeth.orear@state.co.us.

Inocucor announces plans to open U.S. headquarters and production facility in Denver

Inocucor Corporation, a developer and producer of powerful biological crop inputs for agriculture, announced on July 27, it will open its 30,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters and commercialization office at 7304 South Joliet Street in Centennial, Colo.

Inocucor uses a patented fermentation process to combine multi-strains of bacteria and yeasts into powerful soil and plant optimizers that are safe for people and the environment. These products naturally improve crop yields, shorten growing periods and create healthier, more resilient soils for farmers and greenhouse growers.

Concurrent with the Denver headquarters and production facility opening this fall, Inocucor will be doubling its existing 10,000-square-foot lab and offices in Montreal. The Montreal facility will become its Technical Center of Excellence for technology innovation, new-product development, fermentation process development and pilot production. This entity will continue to be called Inocucor Technologies Inc. and will remain its Canadian headquarters.

Inocucor currently employs approximately 30 people in Montreal and the U.S. The company plans to add another 50 high-level scientific and managerial staff in both in its Montreal and Denver operations over the next 18 months.

The company’s move to Denver is supported by a performance-based Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit of $1,322,918 approved by Colorado’s Economic Development Commission.

“Inocucor is a leader in the emerging sector of specialty ag biologicals,” said Inocucor’s President and CEO Donald R. Marvin, a Denver resident. “We are one of a handful of companies that have successfully commercialized microbial crop inputs based on a microbial consortia technology that improve the plant microbiome, which translates into healthier soils and improved water quality. The result for the grower is improved crop yields and reduced need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers.”

Marvin said Inocucor will grow organically with its patented proprietary microbial consortia technology while also pursuing strategic acquisitions and product development partnerships in North America, Latin America and Western Europe.

Inocucor’s flagship product, Garden Solution®, soon to be rebranded in the U.S. as Synergro™, is a live-cell formulation for high-value produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli. Synergro Free™ is a cell-free bio-fertilizer additive to existing plant nutrients for commodity row crops, such as soybean, corn and wheat. Inocucor’s new-product development pipeline includes bio-control formulations that combat economically devastating diseases in crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes.

In the U.S., Garden Solution (Synergro) is OMRI Listed® nationally and OIM-registered in California for organic production. It is registered for use in 22 U.S. states. Synergro Free is registered in 17 U.S. states. Both products are among the first microbial products of their kind to be registered in Canada. Synergro is also a Pro-Cert Approved Input for use in organic growing in Canada.

Inocucor recently completed the $38.8 million CAD ($29 million USD) first close of its Series B financing round, with lead investor TPG Alternative and Renewable Technologies (San Francisco) and participation from Cycle Capital Management (Quebec), Desjardins Innovatech (Quebec) and Closed Loop Capital (U.S.).

The Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. announces vice president of economic development

The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (Metro Denver EDC) is pleased to announce that Sam Bailey will join the organization as its vice president of economic development beginning on August 7, 2017.

 Sam 150X225

Bailey most recently served as president and Chief Executive Officer of the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation in Golden, where he managed a team of four staff members, led business recruitment and expansion activities, and enhanced public and private sector engagement in the community’s economic development efforts.

Previously, Bailey worked as a senior manager of global business development for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, where he managed recruitment and expansion deals totaling $220 million in performance-based incentives supporting the creation of more than 14,400 net new jobs. In addition, he advised legislators and economic development stakeholders on business engagement, proactive recruitment strategies, and process improvement for statewide business development efforts.

“We are truly excited to have Sam Bailey joining our team. His energy and experience combined with his drive for innovation will help transform our work supporting economic vitality throughout Colorado and in the Metro Denver region in particular,” said J. J. Ament, Metro Denver EDC CEO. “He has the right combination of local expertise and international initiative.”

In his new role, Bailey will manage economic development efforts and develop strategic initiatives to expand the Metro Denver region’s economic competitiveness and ability to attract leading industries and talented workers.

Bailey serves as Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors for Colorado Companies to Watch and serves as a Professional Development Mentor and Board Member of the Regis University Young Alumni Board.

Just Another (Grand) Day in Colorado’s Grand Valley

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) launched on July 25, “Another Grand Day”, a video that follows local adventuress Stephanie Carville as she embarks on a series of outdoor activities – ten in all – across Colorado’s Grand Valley with her family and friends, all accomplished in just one day.

“Another Grand Day” is part of a series of videos produced by Grand Junction-based Vitality Films for GJEP and partners to showcase the remarkable outdoor playground Grand Valley locals enjoy every day. The series launched in 2016, with male lead Mason Klebold and friends delving through seven high-intensity sports from skiing on top of the Grand Mesa, to downhill mountain biking and ending with wakeboarding at a lake outside Grand Junction as the sun set.

“As soon as we launched the original Grand Day video, people started asking about the next one and chiming in on other activities we could include. So our goal for a sequel became to capture an equally inspirational day without repeating sports,” said Cilia Kohn, GJEP marketing director. “We also wanted to make sure that the activities felt accessible to everyone – perhaps you won’t do it all in one day, but you could feasibly do a few activities in a day or over the weekend, and bring the whole family. That’s how close we live to this plethora of outdoor fun.”

The sequel includes an even more impressive array of family-friendly activities, including: hiking, Go Karts at the Grand Junction Motor Speedway; riding ATVs on public lands; rappelling; SUP; fishing; riding motorcycles across the Colorado National Monument; and golfing at Redlands Mesa. The video also includes a special preview of the Cameo Shooting Complex opening soon in Palisade – and Carville received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to throw out the first pitch at the 2017 JUCO World Series.

GJEP plans to use the video in its business recruitment efforts.

“Almost a quarter of our prospects operate in the outdoor recreation industry, and I’d say nearly 100 per cent are attracted to the Grand Valley because of the quality of place, which is closely tied to this amazing outdoor playground we have. Alongside the original video, this will be a great tool for GJEP,” continued Kohn.

The Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), the City of Fruita and the Town of Palisade sponsored the sequel, alongside several local businesses, such as XLR Industries and Home Loan Insurance.

“Tourism and economic development go hand-in-hand, so when Vitality Films and GJEP approached the Visitor & Convention Bureau to again sponsor a second Grand Day video, we quickly accepted,” stated Mistalynn Meyeraan, spokesperson for the Grand Junction VCB. “The first video was a project that the VCB was able to use in social media, and we look forward to using the 2.0 video to further market our community as a vibrant, adventure-filled destination.”

View “Another Grand Day”, as well as the 2016 original film and behind-the-scenes footage on www.GrandDayCo.com.


Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office Welcomes New Deputy Director Janette Heung

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced on July 24, that Janette Heung will serve as the new deputy director for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC), effective Aug. 10, 2017.

“Janette is joining us at an exciting time with record growth for our outdoor recreation industry, and she’s just the person to help take us to the next level,” said Luis Benitez, OREC director. “We are thrilled to have her experience and knowledge on our team.”

In her new role as the deputy director, Heung will support economic development within the industry, work to build a dynamic workforce, advance conservation and stewardship, and encourage the intersection with public health and wellness in the sector. She will also develop new initiatives to further Colorado’s outdoor recreation growth. The position manages day-to-day operations of the office and serves as a liaison in the community.

“Colorado is rapidly becoming the epicenter of the outdoor recreation industry,” Heung said. “I’m tremendously excited for the opportunities that lie ahead”.

Heung was born in the US, but grew up in the concrete jungles of Hong Kong. Returning to study as an adult, she soon became mesmerized by the wildness of the North American continent.  She experienced her first winters in New England during school, and eventually followed the call of winter to Alaska, the Alps, and the Andes. When she discovered Colorado and its outdoor recreation community, she immediately relocated here and started adventuring at an extraordinarily high level.

Many classic alpine mountaineering routes in the US and Canadian Rockies followed, and she has managed to complete first ascents in New Zealand and Bolivia, including on the south face of Mount Aspiring in New Zealand.

“Janette’s love for the outdoors directly feeds into her zeal for protecting it-when she’s not exploring outside, she is working on a range of environmental policy, public health and business challenges,” said Benitez. “She is a real asset to our office and the State of Colorado.”

Before accepting the deputy director role she was a consultant who specialized in strategic planning and program management with a focus on conservation and health. Throughout her career, she has consulted for public, private, and non-profit sector clients, including Fortune 500 companies, the City and County of Denver, and The Nature Conservancy. Previously, she was a senior management consultant at Deloitte Consulting in the greater Washington DC area.

Heung is the also co-founder of Unleashed, a winter climbing community event that features storytelling by community champions with the proceeds supping outdoor education non-profits. Heung holds bachelor degrees in physics and biomedical engineering from Tufts University and a master’s degree in Environmental Health from Harvard University.

Outdoor Recreation is a booming industry in Colorado with $34 billion in consumer spending and $994 million in state and local tax revenue. The industry provides 350k jobs with earnings of more than $4 million. Over 80% of Coloradans participate in trail-related activities on a regular basis according to the 2014 Scope Report.

Governor John Hickenlooper launched the OREC office in 2015. OREC is one of only three offices in the nation that provides a central point of contact, advocacy, resources and support at the state level for the diverse constituents, businesses, communities and groups that rely on the continued health of the outdoor recreation industry.
The OREC office is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Janette Heung – New Deputy Director of OREC

USDA Colorado Rural Development Program Activity

Business & Cooperative Programs (BCP)

Business & Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program:

Visitors to Silverthorne, Colorado will soon have another affordable option in lodging. The Pad Hostels, LLC recently was awarded a $4.5 million Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan from USDA.  The funding will allow for the construction of a 116 bed hostel in Silverthorne.  The hostel will be a unique addition to the community as it will partially be built out of shipping containers. Once complete, it will feature 12 dormitories, 10 private rooms, and 12 extended stay rooms.

Limon, Colorado will also be getting a new hotel. A $6.725 million B&I Loan was awarded to Oasis Hospitality, LLC for the construction of a 83 room La Quinta Inn and Suites.  The hotel will feature an indoor pool, fitness room, lobby workstation, market pantry, and a guest laundry. The project will create 25 jobs.

For more information on the Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program click here.

Community Programs

Community Facilities (CF) Program:

Construction is continuing at a rapid pace for the new Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley ReStore in Glenwood Springs, CO (pictured above). Once complete, the new building will allow the entity to consolidate three rental buildings into one location that they own.  The new location will also facilitate increased donations of construction materials and household items, divert more materials from the local landfills, and provide stable full-time jobs to community members who would otherwise have trouble finding full-time sustainable work in a tourism area.  The building will also include features to minimize its long-term life-cycle costs such as using energy efficient LED lighting and a Photovoltaic Solar Array.

Habitat for Humanity utilizes sales from the store to support its homeownership programs in the local community. Construction is tentatively slated to be completed in the Fall of 2017.

For more information on the Community Facilities Program in Colorado, click here.

Water and Environmental Programs

Providing financial assistance to help very small, financially distressed rural communities extend and improve water and waste treatment facilities that serve local households and businesses is our goal. Good practices can save tax dollars, improve the natural environment, and help manufacturers and businesses to locate or expand operations throughout rural Colorado.  Funding is available for communities of 10,000 or less.

For more information on our Water and Waste Water Programs in Colorado, click here.

Single-Family Housing

Rural Development’s Direct and Guaranteed Loan Programs provide rural residents an opportunity to make a house become a home. Our Direct Loan Program provides a path to homeownership for low- and very-low-income families living in rural areas who would not qualify for conventional home mortgages.   Our Guaranteed Loan Program gives local lenders the opportunity to make home loans to eligible low and moderate income families living in rural areas. Providing affordable homeownership opportunities promotes prosperity, gives stability to families, and attracts new employees for expanding businesses. This, in turn, creates thriving communities and improves the quality of life in rural Colorado.

So far this year,1140 rural homeowners have found that special place to call home through Colorado Rural Development.   Remember, whether you choose a direct or guaranteed loan, USDA’s programs offer buyers a low, fixed interest rate, with no mortgage insurance or no down payment. For more information on our programs click here.

Last Housing Forum Scheduled This Month 

Don’t miss your chance to attend the final Housing Forum Colorado 2017 in Buena Vista on July 26th. The forums are sponsored by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA).  This is an opportunity for lenders, Realtors and other housing professionals to hear the latest program updates from Rural Development, Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, CHFA, and Colorado Housing Assistance Corp.  Real Estate Professionals can receive continuing education credits.  For more information and to register visit http://www.chfainfo.com/hfc.

Multi-Family Housing (MFH)

Finding a place to rent that feels like home

USDA Rural Development provides financing for affordable multi-family rental housing in rural areas for very low to moderate income, elderly and disabled individuals and families all across Colorado.  We have financed 116 properties designated for either senior or family living.  Rural Development does not manage these properties, however, anyone interested in finding an affordable rental unit in a rural area in Colorado should click here to find properties in a county near them.

Funding Availability:

Rural Development publishes Notices of Solicitation of Applications (NOSAs) or Notices of Funding Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register.  NOSAs and NOFAs provide program information organized in a consistent way to easily and quickly find information regarding Rural Development Opportunities.  For more information on current notices click here.

Currently the following application windows are open:

Community Facilities Program Technical Assistance and Training Grants – Applications due July 24, 2017

More information on this program can be found by clicking here.

Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Grant -Applications due July 25th

For more information click here.

USDA Seeks Applications to Help Socially Disadvantaged Ag Producers and Rural Business Owners – Applications due August 1, 2017

For more information on how to apply for this program click here.

Advanced Industries (AI) Export Accelerator Grant Program: Now Accepting Applications

The Advanced Industries (AI) Export Accelerator Grant program is now accepting applications from current and aspiring Colorado exporters in the Advanced Industries who are looking to offset international business development and marketing costs.

Grants are available for up to $15,000 for eligible costs for small and medium-sized AI businesses in aerospace, infrastructure engineering, advanced manufacturing, energy and natural resources, bioscience, electronics, and technology and information.

Grants can be used to help cover the costs of trade missions and trade shows, translation services for a contract or official document, intellectual property protection, conducting due diligence or credit reviews on potential buyers or distributors, and production and design of international marketing materials.

The AI Export Accelerator grant program is administered by the Global Business Development division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). The application and eligibility requirements are available here.

Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. This is a competitive grant process with limited opportunities for funding. First year grant applicants will be given preference during the application review process. The deadline is rolling and projects and/or travel must be complete by June 30, 2018. Questions can be emailed to Laura Brindle at laura.brindle@state.co.us

Companies that are considering exporting or those that are currently exporting are also encouraged to use the Global Consultant Network as a complement to the AI Export Accelerator program.

The Global Consultant Network provides a network of international consultants who connect Colorado companies to global opportunities. Colorado companies have access to international consultants in major markets including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, UAE and China that provide valuable in-country market research.

These consultants can assist Colorado companies to:

  • Understand the opportunity for a product or service in their international market
  • Navigate the local regulatory and business environment
  • Identify potential in-market partners
  • Set meetings with potential partners and attend meetings upon request

Colorado companies pay $500 for services provided by the Global Consultant Network and OEDIT covers the remaining amount of the services. Learn more about Global Consultant Network here.

DIA to add nonstop flight to Paris, France

Denver International Airport announces its fourth, new international destination in three months with nonstop flights to Paris, France.

The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe and many other famous attractions in Paris, France will soon be a nonstop flight away for Denver passengers. On July 20, Mayor Michael B. HancockDenver International Airport (DEN) and Norwegian announced that the airline will begin offering nonstop service from Denver to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) beginning April 9, 2018, making this the forth new international destination for DEN in three months.

Currently, Paris is DEN’s largest unserved market in the world and DEN has the largest unserved market to Paris in North America. A recent survey conducted by DEN in cooperation with the Rocky Mountain French-American Chamber of Commerce showed that 74% of those surveyed would travel more frequently to France if there were nonstop flights between Denver and Paris.

“Paris is a global center of commerce and culture, and we couldn’t be more excited that Norwegian will be offering nonstop flights from Denver beginning next spring,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “This addition to DEN’s growing air service network further elevates Denver’s position as a global city.”

The new service will operate twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays. The flight is scheduled to arrive in DEN at 6:15 p.m. and depart DEN at 8:15 p.m. It will operate using a Boeing 787-9 with 344 seats.

“It’s an exciting day for Colorado travelers who, for too long, have faced high fares and limited choices. This new route is a win for all of our customers,” said Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer at Norwegian. “Paris is a very attractive destination, for both leisure and business travelers alike. The response we have seen from the U.S. market for more affordable accessibility to European cities reflects the demand on both sides of the Atlantic. We are excited to continue our relationship with Denver International Airport, and be the leading airline in offering customers more direct flights and affordable long-haul travel.”

Nearly 200 people a day travel between Denver and Paris, ranking Paris as Denver’s second-largest market in Europe behind only London. The demand for travel between Denver and Paris has grown by more than 20% over the past year and is today at all-time highs.

“Securing nonstop flights to Paris has been very high on our priority list since I took over as CEO nearly a decade ago and this is a game changer for Denver,” said DEN CEO Kim Day. “We expect that this new flight will significantly stimulate the already strong demand for travel between Denver and Paris, with the hope of increased frequencies in the future.”

With the addition of the flight to Paris, DEN is now served by 25 airlines including nine foreign-flag carriers that provide service to 25 international destinations in 11 countries, and more than 185 total nonstop destinations. In addition, DEN will have nonstop service to all 10 of our top 10 international markets, and 15 of our top 20 international markets.

Secretary of State, Wayne Williams Releases Second Quarter Economic Indicators Report

Colorado businesses saw a small dip in both new entity filings and existing entity renewals in the second quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter, but increases over the same period last year.

According to the Quarterly Business & Economic Indicators Report, in the second quarter of 2017, a total of 29,728 new business filings were recorded in Colorado — a 5.9 percent increase over the same period last year. The first quarter of 2017 yielded a 9.3 percent increase year-over-year.

“New entity filing continue an upward trajectory, which is good news for our state,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams. “There are now nearly 650,000 business entities in good standing filed with our office.”

The Quarterly Business & Economic Indicators Report looks at a variety of factors, such as energy costs, the labor market, and inflation. Through May 2017, home prices in Colorado grew at the third-fastest pace nationally (9.9 percent). Labor data continues to show weakness in employment growth in rural communities.

“At this time the national economy appears poised to continue the third longest expansion in U.S. history,” said Richard Wobbekind, Executive Director of the Business Research Division. “We see few warning signs that could derail this trajectory over the next year. Colorado’s economy is still holding strong.”

The Quarterly Business & Economic Indicators Report is published by the Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder using data from the Secretary of State’s central business registry.