With world-class mountain biking, over 30 wineries, the Colorado National Monument as our backdrop, and a milder climate than the rest of the state, Grand Junction is a popular tourism destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the Denver metro. But it also has a thriving and diversified economy with unprecedented growth over the past few years in tech and advanced manufacturing. The secret is finally out. Grand Junction is a great place to start a business. Here are five reasons why:
1. WE’VE GOT THAT MAVERICK SPIRIT
Since the days of the Wild West, Grand Junction has been home to entrepreneurs and mavericks. Chuck Hull, inventor of 3D printing, was born in Grand Junction. The first drone to be used in law enforcement in the country flew here at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. And Colorado’s oldest solar energy company, Atlasta Solar, is based here. In the last three years, we’ve launched 13 companies through the Rural Jump Start tax incentive program, which supports companies that create technologies, products and services new to the state. Colorado Mesa University (CMU) – the fastest-growing university in Colorado, with an enrollment of 11,000 students – boasts programs in mechanical and electrical engineering, and is home to the Maverick Innovation Center, a launchpad for student-led enterprises. From the university to our local workforce center and business incubator, we create unique training programs specific to the jobs and industries that exist in our valley, as well as help local companies find the workforce they need to grow. We also have a number of training and workforce incentives that offset the wages of new employees so that companies are able to grow quickly and efficiently.
2. WE WANT YOUR BUSINESS
In western Colorado, we have room to grow and the resources to support that growth. We also have a culture of collaboration that supports sustainable development and a comprehensive plan that makes sure that growth is done in a smart way for the future. The Rural Jump Start tax incentive is one of the most lucrative incentive programs in the country and allows new businesses to operate tax-free for up to eight years. Grand Junction is also home to six of Colorado’s federal Opportunity Zones, that support capital investors in rural regions. We recognize that time means money, which is why our straight-forward planning and permitting process takes 90 days from application to approval.
3. WE CREATE HAPPY EMPLOYEES
Quality of life means something a bit different in western Colorado. With housing prices half of what they are in Denver, we spend far less of our income on our housing, making us the most affordable metropolitan area in Colorado. Like sitting in traffic? We don’t either, and spend 32% less time sitting in our cars than front range residents. That’s 32% more time that we spend on our skis, bikes, kayaks, trails or even our couch. Our low cost of living and high quality of life means that we have happier employees that stay in their jobs longer, reducing costs to business caused by employee turnover
4. BIG CITY AMENITIES WITH SMALL TOWN CHARM
Grand Junction is bigger than you think. Known as the Grand Valley, the Grand Junction area includes the town of Palisade to the east and the city of Fruita to the west and has a total population of 151,000. Add in the mountain and regional communities that come to town to do their shopping and get their healthcare, and that population grows to 350,000. Home to the Grand Junction Regional Airport with 16 daily, direct flights, you’ve got the amenities of a big city with the charm and culture of a small, rural town. Our location on Interstate 70, halfway between Denver and Salt Lake City, puts your business within an easy drive of over 5 million people without the congestion and prices that come with big-city living.
5. THIS IS THE COLORADO YOU WERE PROMISED.
Western Colorado has it all. Water sports? Grand Junction is named for the junction of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers and the City is in the midst of building a 140-acre riverfront park geared towards outdoor industry manufacturers, which will include a whitewater park and zipline over the river. Mountain sports? Grand Junction sits at the base of the Grand Mesa, the largest flat-topped mountain in the world and home to world-class Nordic skiing and Powderhorn Mountain Resort. Public Lands? 75% of the area is public land: BLM, National Forest and the stunning Colorado National Monument. Trails? Where to start? Mountain biking in Fruita. Trail running in Grand Junction. Hiking on the Grand Mesa. Then there’s the Palisade Plunge, a 6,000-foot drop from the top of the Mesa into the town of Palisade spanning 33 miles. Currently under construction and scheduled for a 2020 completion, the Palisade Plunge will prove to be a destination for bikers from all over the world.
In short, Grand Junction offers all the benefits of living and working in Colorado at a more affordable cost, which makes it the ideal place to launch a new endeavor.
CONTACT GJEP TODAY TO SEE HOW YOU CAN GROW A BUSINESS IN GRAND JUNCTION.
Photo credit: Page Tucker, Founder and CEO of Prostar Geocorp, has created a mini-incubator for tech startups in his offices in Grand Junction. His efforts earned him the AVEX Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2016 and his company is set to go public this year.
*This content is a continuation from the Entrepreneurs Smartbrief Publication that ran on 2/19/19.