12 Front Range cities, University of Colorado, Arrow Electronics, other top state leaders launch Colorado Smart Cities Alliance

The Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the United States, officially launched Monday September 25, 2017. The statewide, multi-jurisdictional, public-private coalition aims to make Colorado a leader in the development of intelligent, 21st century infrastructure, improving everything from transportation and housing to public safety and the environment for the state’s 5.5-plus million residents.

With more than three million additional people expected to move to Colorado by 2050—a more than 50 percent increase—there is an urgency for community leaders to collaborate on finding innovative, cost-effective ways to better monitor, manage and improve infrastructure and public services.

The Denver South Economic Development Partnership identified this need, and founded the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance to provide an open, collaborative and active platform where local business and citizen leaders, public officials and community stakeholders could come together in their efforts to continually improve the region’s economic foundations for future generations.

Watch the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance Video

“The Colorado Smart Cities Alliance is advancing policies and technologies that will better equip Colorado residents to live, work and play in a future that is increasingly being shaped by the complex challenges of urban growth,” said Jake Rishavy, vice president of innovation at the Denver South Economic Development Partnership. “We’re working to create a 21st-century technology infrastructure right here in Colorado that will help to enhance everyone’s quality of life, particularly as our communities continue to grow. With our citizen-centered approach to design and public policy, this alliance is going to put Colorado on the map as a smart cities leader.”

A dozen cities along Colorado’s Front Range are founding members of the alliance:

  • Arvada
  • Aurora
  • Boulder
  • Centennial
  • Colorado Springs
  • Denver
  • Fort Collins
  • Greenwood Village
  • Littleton
  • Lone Tree
  • Longmont
  • Westminster

The alliance also includes notable research partners:

The Colorado Innovation Corridor, The Innovation Corridor, a partnership between Formativ, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The Colorado Technology Association, a connector that brings together public organizations, academic institutions and private enterprise to advance the tech ecosystem across the state ensure Colorado leads the way in smart city innovation.

The University of Colorado, a premier public research university and the largest institution of higher education in the state, is the alliance academic partner. CU Denver, Colorado’s only public urban research university, will lead the university’s efforts for the alliance.

Colorado’s largest company by revenue, global technology-solutions provider Arrow Electronics is serving as a technology advisor to the alliance, helping member cities design and pilot projects. Arrow is also building a platform where alliance members can securely share, aggregate and analyze data while piloting and improving upon smart cities projects.

Learn more about the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance: http://coloradosmart.city/

Estes Park Economic Development Corporation Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council

The Estes Park Economic Development Corporation won a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for its General Purpose Website, a project in the category of General Purpose Website of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17 – 20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the Estes Park Economic Development Corporation. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark,” said Michael Langley, FM, the CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair.

The website communicates the community’s economic development priorities, reflecting a regional strategy that was based on extensive stakeholder interviews and 790 e-survey responses. The survey research represents about 7 percent of Estes Valley’s population. More existing and potential businesses are reaching out for assistance looking to do business in the Estes Valley.

Since inception of a marketing plan and social media content calendar 12 months ago, they have seen 75% growth in Twitter followers to 269 followers. Facebook has 53% growth in page likes to 368 likes, a 120% increase in page views and a 425% increase in post likes.

The Website enhances the credibility of our e-newsletters and the open rate for the newsletters is 46.08% while the industry average open rate is 1.2%. Newsletter Signups on the website has seen 57% growth month over month.

“This website would not have been possible without the support and input from our Board of Directors, Stakeholders and community” said Adam Shake, Estes Park EDC Director of Communications and Business Development. “We would especially like to thank Town of Estes Park Public Information Officer Kate Rusch, Town of Estes Park Police Operations Captain Eric Rose and Larimer County Workforce Center Business Training Coordinator Mike Kohler for their individual contributions to the website.”

Jon Nicholas, Estes Park EDC President and CEO stated that “I am grateful that this website was built completely in-house. While many organizations rely on outside consultants and website designers, Adam Shake brought the technical expertise and ability to build a website on a Squarespace platform that incorporates responsive design and offers high quality information and business services to our Estes Valley businesses on a variety of devices.”

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.

ON THE MOVE: Jeffco EDC Announces New President & CEO

Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation’s (Jeffco EDC) Board of Directors announced that it has appointed Kristi Pollard as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective October 30, 2017.

“We are thrilled to have such an experienced, well-respected, recognized leader in economic
development as our new President & CEO”, said Jeffco EDC’s Board Chairman Tom Currigan. “The
Selection Committee went through an inclusive and comprehensive national search to identify the right
candidate, and we are confident in Kristi’s ability to lead Jeffco EDC and take the organization to the
next level”.

As the former Executive Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP), Kristi has over 15
years of experience in economic development, government and community relations, fundraising, and

“I am excited and energized to be part of a dynamic organization like the Jefferson County Economic
Development Corporation. Jeffco EDC was the first economic development organization in the state of
Colorado, and I look forward to being a part of the team that leads Jefferson County forward toward
greater economic vitality”, stated Kristi.

During her time at GJEP, Kristi played a key role in developing and implementing programs that
encouraged job creation and capital investment in the local economy.

U.S. Small Business Administration awards Colorado over $250,000 Grant

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) a $256,059 grant to promote new trade missions targeting small businesses. Nationwide, the SBA’s awarded 44 State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program awards valued at $18 million to support activities that increase exporting by small businesses. Through the STEP grant, OEDIT and CDA will run eight trade missions that connect Colorado small businesses to international buyers and will also have funding available for individual international business development activities.

The key industry programs include:
* Medica in Düsseldorf, Germany from Nov 13 – 16, 2017
* Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain from Feb 26 – Mar 1, 2018
* ANTAD in Guadalajara, Mexico from March 5 – 7, 2018
* Hannover Messe in Hannover, Germany from April 23 – 27, 2018
* Bar at National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago from May 19 -22, 2018
* The Green Expo in Mexico City, Mexico (September 2018)
* Americas Food and Beverage Show in Miami (September 2018)
* Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London, United Kingdom (September 2018)

“Exposing and enabling our business community to broader markets is unbelievably important to the local economy given the billions of new dollars, job retention and creation these exports bring to Colorado. The STEP program is a key enabler for many of our small businesses to reach these markets” said Stephanie Copeland, Executive Director, OEDIT. With STEP funds, small businesses are able to learn the basics of exporting, participate in group trade missions to trade shows, travel for an individual international sales trip, and develop websites or international marketing campaigns. Last year, Colorado’s STEP award helped small business across Colorado participate in trade shows in Munich, Germany; Mexico City, Mexico; and, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

About the State Trade Expansion Program
STEP is a financial assistance program for aspiring and current Colorado exporters entering into a new global market. Funded in part by a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), STEP provides grant awards to small business to offset international business development and marketing costs.

Eligibility and application guidelines can be found here. For more information about the Colorado STEP program please contact Laura Brindle at laura.brindle@state.co.us.

Colorado Creative Industries and DOLA announce Space to Create Paonia

Space to Create program to help spur economic development in rural Colorado

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), Colorado Creative Industries Division (CCI) and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) along with Boettcher Foundation, Artspace and the town of Paonia gathered yesterday at the annual Mountain Harvest Festival to announce Paonia as the community selected for Space to Create in Northwest Colorado. The program will develop affordable workforce housing for the creative sector, as well as position Colorado as the nation’s leader in artist-led community transformation in rural creative place-making.

“Housing and economic development of creative industries are vital needs in rural Colorado. The Space to Create initiative advances both of these issues by harnessing the power of the public, private and philanthropic sectors, as well as the creative community, to elevate rural economies,” said Governor John Hickenlooper.

Space to Create Paonia will advance a feasibility analysis of creative sector workforce space in the town of Paonia. The initiative will begin with a preliminary feasibility study and community engagement work, followed by an arts market survey.

Space to Create Paonia, is one of a number of projects that will be launched in eight regions in Colorado’s rural, small town and mountain communities over the next three years. Each project will be driven by community needs for workforce housing and commercial space for artists and creative entrepreneurs. The first demonstration project was launched July 2015 in Trinidad, followed by the town of Ridgway in the Southwest region. Through the study process, both communities learned that projects are feasible and they are currently in the predevelopment phase. Regional selections are prioritized based on local needs including economic diversification, community readiness, public will, commitment of local resources and housing and space demands.

“Having felt the devastating effects of two mine closings and a recession that has lasted a decade, we are thrilled to have been selected for a Space to Create project,” said Paonia Mayor Charles Stewart. “The creative industries are becoming a major part of our economy, and the Space to Create project is a substantial step forward in developing this resource and moving us toward a sustainable financial future. We appreciate everyone who has made this possible, including The Colorado Office of Economic Development, Colorado Creative Industries, The Department of Local Affairs, The Boettcher Foundation and Artspace.”

“The Space to Create Paonia initiative will unite local and regional partners in an effort to create an important catalyst for economic development in Colorado’s rural communities,” said Irv Halter, DOLA Executive Director.

Artspace, America’s leader in artist-led community transformation, will act as lead consultant with CCI.

“Artspace is honored and excited to participate in the Space to Create process and to assist the town of Paonia and its creative sector in advancing its vision for affordable and sustainable creative space,” said Shannon Joern, Artspace Vice President of National Advancement.

In addition to Paonia, the towns of Carbondale and Crested Butte submitted applications for the Northwest Space to Create. These communities showed remarkable readiness, public will, and commitment of local resources and will proceed to explore feasibility directly with Artspace. Colorado Creative Industries and DOLA will support these projects through technical support and connections to resources.

Yesterday’s announcement was held at the Blue Sage Arts Center in Paonia, Colorado.

For more information, please visit coloradocreativeindustries.org.


Colorado Business Roundtable Releases “Connecting Classrooms to Careers to Shrink Colorado Skills Gap” Report by ReadyNation

Colorado Business Roundtable Releases “Connecting Classrooms to Careers to Shrink Colorado Skills Gap” Report by ReadyNation

Council for a Strong America is a national nonprofit that unites five organizations comprised of law enforcement leaders, retired admirals and generals, business executives, pastors, and prominent coaches and athletes who promote solutions that ensure our next generation of Americans will be citizen-ready.

The report, titled “Connecting Classrooms to Careers to Shrink Colorado’s Skills Gap” focuses on the importance of Deeper Learning strategies in closing the skills gap, which occurs when there are more job openings than there are qualified workers to fill those positions.

Skills gaps can create major problems for businesses. Simply put, our state is not producing enough employees with the right skills or education.  Colorado will struggle to remain competitive over the next few years if that trend doesn’t change. Employers around the state and the country are looking more and more for skills like collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.  These are skills that go deeper than the basic technical knowledge someone might need to do a particular job.

The good news is that we can give our students the education they need to be competitive in the job market and, at the same time, give them the deeper learning skills that employers covet.  We can do that by investing in deeper learning programs that specifically teach our students the skills they’ll need to succeed.

Innovative educational models that teach deeper learning are being used in K-12 schools around the country.  One of these models here in Denver is the Welby Community School, where students participate in a learning style called “Expeditionary Learning.” Welby students engage in six-week “expeditions” that combine high-level academic content and real-world experiences crossing multiple subjects.  These projects give students invaluable know-how that they carry with them into more advanced educational experiences, or even to the workforce.

Read more

View Report

OEDIT Team Up with Denver Startup Week

Denver Startup Week begins September 25-29. The free annual event focused on entrepreneurship will not only cultivate Colorado innovators but will host several panels presented by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to inspire and ignite future trailblazers in the startup world.

On Tuesday, September 26 OEDIT will host 2 panels.  OEDIT’s first event is a mashup panel between Outdoor Recreation (ORec) and Technology, hoping to cross the two sectors to explore problems in textile companies and the ORec industry. This will allow entrepreneurs to hear the problems ORec is facing and provide an opportunity to brainstorm marketable solutions. Panelists for ORec include Kim Miller, CEO of SCARPA; Mike Waesche, Founder/CEO of Rocky Mountain Underground; and Jeff Bowman, CEO of Cocona. Panelists for Tech include Fernando Cardenas, Founder and Director of Technology of TalentRiot; Jeff Binder, CEO of Layer3 TV; and Brian Voelschow, VP of Engineering of Blinker. The event will take placeTuesday, September 26 from 12-1:30 p.m. at Larimer Social.

For those who are looking for resources and insight in the technology startup sector, “Mind the Gap: Surviving the Technology Valley of Death – Peak to Valley of Death” focuses on the federally- and privately-funded programs run by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), which provides a variety of resources from funding to industry connections. NREL is designed to provide US entrepreneurs with a competitive edge and bridge the gap from concept to market. The forum will discuss topics such as scale and growth of an Early Stage company and lessons learned. Kristin Gray of the NREL Technology Transfer Office (TTO) will be moderating. Panelists include Alice Havill of Vartega, developer of a recycled low-cost grade carbon-fiber; Tim Reeser of Lightning Systems, a research, and manufacturing company developing a hydraulic hybrid upfit for vehicles like delivery trucks; and Brice Leconte of iUnit, working with NREL to employ tools for enhanced energy efficiency for apartment development. The event will take place Tuesday, September 26 from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Capital One Cafe.

On Thursday, September 28 from 2-3:30 p.m. join OEDIT’s last panel of the week, “Capturing Innovation: Adjacent Technologies in Everyday Life,” at the Capital One Café.  The panel dives into the realm of developing technologies adapted and commercialized through the private sector. This panel will discuss why startup entrepreneurs should collaborate with federal labs and higher education institution TTOs, and how to apply these technologies across several industries. The moderator for this board is Erin Miller, Managing Director at the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC), bringing together government, education, institutions, and industry to collaborate on technology innovation for the market. Panelists include: Oliver Davis, CEO and Co-Founder of simuwatt, a flexible field data collection software born from a joint development with NREL; Meghan Bader, Program Manager of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at NREL, overseeing the development and success of strategic projects for the US Department of Energy and alliances; and Henry Kapteyn, CEO and Founder of KMLabs, committed to the advancement of ultrashort-pulse and short-wavelength laser technologies.

For more information about OEDIT’s startup week panels, please contact the following:

For more information about Denver Startup Week, please click here .

ON THE MOVE: DCED director tapped for new state position

This week, Delta County Economic Development (DCED) announced “with great regret” the resignation of Trish Thibodo as executive director.

“DCED appreciates the leadership Trish has brought to Delta County and the many projects DCED has been involved with,” John Gavan, DCED president, said in a press release. “Trish has accepted a newly created position with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) as the Rural Response, Recovery and Resiliency (4R) manager. This new position creates a coordinated response of state, federal and other resources for Colorado rural communities to help them recover from industry or significant job loss and create more resilient economies.”

Caryn Gibson, superintendent of schools for Delta County Joint School District #50, noted the role Thibodo has played to get Delta County moving forward again.

“Her positive energy and understanding of economic development has helped lead our school district in the ENGAGE project,” Gibson said. “The school district would like to thank Trish for her dedication and support of the many projects in the Delta County School District.”

Thibodo has also worked closely with the City of Delta on several projects related to economic development.

“It has been a pleasure working with Trish,” said city manager David Torgler. “Her enthusiasm and her active participation, her desire to bring people together and to work on economic development activities that benefit Delta County, has been a wonderful experience. In her new role, Trish will continue to be of great value to this community and I look forward to working with her.”

Thibodo starts with DOLA the week of Oct. 9.

“I’ve been honored to serve as DCED executive director and will greatly miss working closely with the DCED board and community partners, although I know in this new position I can continue to support the growth of Delta County. DCED is a leading change in Delta County,” she said.

DCED is in the process of hiring a new executive director to take DCED and Delta County to the next level. Visit www.deltacountyed.org for more information.

Delta County Independant

EDCC & OEDIT Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award

Economic Development Council of Colorado & Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Receives Excellence in Economic Development Award from
the International Economic Development Council


WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 19, 2017) The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) and Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) won a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for its “How Colorado Came Together to Market Economic Development” campaign, a project in the category of Innovation in Economic Development Week (EDW) of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the IEDC Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 17 – 20, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the Economic Development Council of Colorado and Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.”  – Michael Langley, FM, CEO of GREATER MSP, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and 2017 IEDC Board Chair

The mission for both OEDIT and EDCC is to increase awareness and economic prosperity for Colorado. The two teamed up this year to promote EDW. OEDIT created an Economic Development Toolkit that was specific to Colorado to help economic development organizations with their campaign promotions.
Campaign elements also included a press release from Colorado’s Governor pronouncing Economic Development Week in both a video and Proclamation, a blog from the director of OEDIT on LinkedIn, and a social media campaign populated by economic development organizations from around the state.
The goal of this promotion was to market and educate the importance of economic development organizations across the state. This opportunity brought together the economic development community, gave them a platform to share their economic development success stories and best practices, and to elevate their work within their communities.

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.


About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of other institutions. Among many activities which benefit the economy, IEDC’s members create high-quality jobs and develop vibrant communities. www.iedcONLINE.org.

Governor’s Healthy Business Award Applications Open Statewide

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) today announced it is accepting applications for the Governor’s Healthy Business Award for 2017. Applications will be accepted from small businesses with fewer than 500 employees until Monday, November 20, 2017.

The award will honor one small business statewide making great strides supporting the health andwellness of their employees, while simultaneously impacting their business vitality. The award will lead to increased visibility of the winner’s efforts leading to it being noted as a top place to work and attracting talent in a competitive market statewide.

OEDIT defines health and wellness as a comprehensive and inclusive circle of well-being including: mental, spiritual, emotional, social, environmental, financial, and physical dimensions. It is ideal for a business to foster work, life integration supporting every dimension of an employee’s well-being. Businesses supporting employee’s comprehensive health and wellness experience impactful benefits contributing to their bottom line such as enhanced employee productivity, reduced absenteeism, and increased employee retention and attraction.

Benefits of the Award:1. Governor’s proclamation of being the healthiest business in the state2. Press release from the Governor’s office sent out to media outlets statewide3. Feature story on OEDIT’s website (choosecolorado.com) and social media channel4. Health and wellness consultations specific to continuous improvement from OEDIT’s Health and Wellness Strategist.Applicants will be evaluated on the business’ health and wellness excellence, community involvement and collaboration, and evaluative outcomes. Final candidates will be evaluated through an on-site interview process by OEDIT. The winner will be recognized publicly at an award event.

This award is part of For Colorado: For the Health of It! The Statewide initiative led by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) contributing to the efforts of making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It focuses on integrating health and wellness into the places Coloradans live, work, and play by cultivating a culture of health among small businesses and communities to enhance economic vitality statewide.

Applications will be accepted through Monday, November 26th at https://oedit.secure.force.com/oedit/. Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees located within the state of Colorado are eligible to apply for the Governor’s Healthy Business Award.

For more information visit www.choosecolorado.com/forcolorado. Inquiries should be directed to Jamie Hackbarth, Health and Wellness Strategist, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, at  Jamie.hackbarth@state.co.us.

About For Colorado: For the Health of It! Initiative
For Colorado is a statewide initiative led by OEDIT focused on integrating health and wellness into the places Coloradans live, work and play. Its mission is to cultivate a culture of health and well-being among small businesses and communities to enhance economic vitality statewide. It aims to assist, recognize and connect the Coloradans through a three-pillar model: 1. Free small business consulting: Provide health and wellness assistance to improve employee well-being leading to business vitality. 2. Statewide wellness council: Partner with the Governor’s Council of Active and Healthy Lifestyles to enhance wellness efforts statewide. 3. Governor’s Health and Wellness Awards: Incentivize cultivation of a culture of health among small businesses and communities through statewide recognition. For Colorado is grant-funded by the Colorado Health Foundation. It partners with various stakeholders to elevate wellness efforts including Health Links, Small Business Development Centers, Colorado Department of Health and Environment, LiveWell Colorado, Governor’s Council of Active and Healthy Lifestyles.

About Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade 
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works with statewide partners to create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. Under the leadership of Governor John Hickenlooper, we strive to advance the state’s economy through financial and technical assistance in support of local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado.