Originally Published Thursday, March 23, 2023
Under the Polis administration, Colorado is globally competitive across a wide range of Advanced Industry sectors and is strategically positioned to excel as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hub) under the CHIPS and Science Act. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) will be launching a competitive process to designate 20 federally-designated Tech Hubs across the country, with $500 million in appropriated funding available in 2023 to help these hubs drive technology- and innovation-centric growth. Partners across the state are collaborating to highlight Colorado’s strengths and champion this opportunity to grow the nation’s advanced and emerging technology industries.
“In Colorado, we are proud of our nation-leading, innovative work to boost advanced industries and make sure technology and business can thrive. Colorado is more than ready for this exciting opportunity to leverage our hardworking workforce and robust research and development ecosystem,” said Gov. Polis.
The Tech Hub program seeks to equitably and inclusively strengthen U.S. economic and national security through investments in regions with the assets, resources, capacity, and potential to become globally competitive in advanced and emerging technology industries. Colorado is strategically positioned to leverage strengths in research and development (R&D), a diverse portfolio of advanced and growing industries, one of the best workforces in the nation and strong public-private partnerships to drive technology- and innovation-centric growth and create good-paying jobs for American workers at all skill levels:
- Colorado is home to a diverse portfolio of advanced and growing industries. The average annual growth rate of jobs in each of Colorado’s strategic industries grew faster than the national average over the past five years.
- CNBC rated Colorado the top state in the nation for workforce. Colorado has the third-highest share of adults with an advanced degree in the U.S. (44%), the fourth highest labor force participation rate (68%), and the fourth highest share of STEM workers (9%).
- Colorado invests in talent and skill development. Opportunity Now Colorado is already fostering innovative, regional partnerships between educational institutions and employers to support career pathways. These initiatives will match the skills that industry partners require while fostering more equitable access to new job opportunities.
- A collaborative ecosystem fosters innovation. The state’s world-renowned university system and an array of military installations, including four national commands and over 30 federally-funded research labs, frequently collaborate with industry partners and each other for R&D and commercialization projects.
- Colorado is building an economy that works for everyone. Through important programs like the Colorado Startup Loan Fund and new Venture Capital Authority partnerships, Colorado is providing more equitable access to business development resources. The Rural Opportunity Office and Minority Business Office divisions of OEDIT also work to connect business owners from diverse communities across the state to these programs. Economic growth must benefit all Coloradans, whether they live in rural or urban areas or come from communities that have historically encountered barriers to business development resources and access to capital.
To ensure that Colorado is ready to act on a Tech Hub designation, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) is fostering statewide collaboration through a series of convenings. OEDIT’s Business Funding & Incentives division and Rural Opportunity Office are bringing together private, public, rural and urban partners that are working together to mobilize resources and amplify this opportunity to diverse communities across the state.