Mesa County Reaches Major Milestone with 20 Approved Jump-Start Companies
GRAND JUNCTION, CO (May 25, 2021) – Last week, the Economic Development Commission, a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), approved Hayden Data for the Rural Jump-Start Program, a Colorado incentive program that provides companies located in rural areas with significant tax breaks if they bring a new technology, product or service to the state.
“We are very pleased with the local support from GJEP and the approval of our Jump-Start application. This encouraging support will help Hayden Data to grow our presence in Grand Junction and to contribute our share to the economic development of the region,” said Hayden Data CEO Steve Whitehurst.
Hayden Data has developed a patent-pending technology to monitor structural, environmental and operational conditions of infrastructure equipment including utility poles, oil and gas assets and telecommunications towers. The technology is particularly useful to help identify fires and other issues before they become catastrophic events.
“Particularly rural Colorado, characterized by wildfire risk and remoteness will greatly benefit from seeing the deployment of our technology across transmission and distribution infrastructure in the region,” said Florian Gegier, Director of Sales and Business Development at Hayden Data. “Making the power grid and communities safer and more resilient is our mission, after all.”
Originally founded in Australia by current CTO Iain Puddy, the company undertook over a decade of R&D before being acquired by the U.S. company Hayden Data Systems. Under the direction of Mr. Whitehurst, a new U.S. headquarters was established in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last year. Today, Hayden Data’s main U.S. operation is in Grand Junction, where assembly, administration and R&D are performed under the leadership of Mr. Whitehurst. Test facilities in the Cameo area of Mesa County and nearby Austin, Delta County, complement the efforts of the Grand Junction operation.
Hayden Data is on a rapid growth path and plans to expand with a demo facility in Grand Junction. It has also partnered with local manufacturer Acom Unlimited, LLC, to produce the sensor boxes that house the technology. Acom was approved for the Jump-Start tax credit program earlier this year. Combined, Hayden Data and Acom are expected to add approximately 60 jobs to the local economy in engineering, machining, robotics, drafting and accounting – the expected total economic impact is $19 million over their first two years.
Hayden Data marks the 20th company to be approved for Jump-Start in Mesa County – and the third this year. Acom and Eco Super Structures, a green build company, were both approved in March. Of the 20 companies, 15 remain in operation.
“Jump-Start has been a huge success in Mesa County,” said Steve Jozefczyk, Deputy Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP). “Considering almost all of these businesses are startups, and 9 out of 10 startups fail, a 75% success rate is phenomenal. The program has had a significant impact on the diversification of our economy and the growth of high-income, innovative industry sectors.”
The idea for the Jump-Start program originated in Mesa County, spearheaded by Colorado Mesa University (CMU), local business leaders and economic development partners. It officially launched through OEDIT in 2015-16 with 7 startups, all based in the County.
Through the program, companies receive 100% tax credit on income and sales taxes for four years, with opportunity to extend for another four years (original participant, Grand Junction-based ProStar, was the first company to successfully complete the first four years of the program and be extended for a second round). Participants are also eligible for special cash grants. In exchange, the businesses will add a minimum of three net new jobs to the county in high-paying, highly skilled fields. They also form a partnership with CMU through mentorship, internship opportunities and community involvement.
“CMU is proud to have helped launch the Rural Jump-Start Program, collaborate with the businesses who have joined, and provide ongoing support,” said Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster. “Our efforts to grow the human capital needed by businesses, connect that talent pipeline with workforce needs, and support companies further through engagement with our Maverick Innovation Center is truly a win-win-win for everyone.”
Last year, OEDIT modified Jump-Start criteria to make it easier for companies to be approved and succeed within the program, and last week, the Colorado Senate approved a bill to extend the program, which would open up an additional $3 million in special state grants over the next two years to help participants establish operations.
To learn more about the Rural Jump-Start Tax Zone in Mesa County, Colorado, visit jumpstartmesaco.com
Grand Junction Economic Partnership
About the Grand Junction Economic Partnership
The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) works to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in Colorado’s Grand Valley by supporting high-impact capital investment and job creation. GJEP is a single stop for businesses looking to relocate or expand in the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, the Town of Palisade and surrounding communities of Mesa County. Operating as a 501(c)3, GJEP offers free services that connect businesses with realtors, developers, workforce, local leadership and more. GJEP also provides guidance on incentive programs, such as the Rural Jump-Start Tax Credit and Opportunity Zones. Join us in the New West – visit www.gjep.org for more information.