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Colorado Innovation Network Releases State's First-Ever Innovation Index

Press Release

Location: Denver, CO

The Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) today released the first-ever state report detailing innovation activity in Colorado. The Colorado Innovation Index will be an annual report that takes a comprehensive look at how Colorado is creating an environment in which innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation can thrive. The Index was released today as part of the inaugural Innovation Summit, which brings together the most innovative and action-oriented leaders in the Colorado community and from around the globe to help elevate the state's innovation climate.

"Innovation and entrepreneurship are critical to sustainable economic growth," said Gov. John Hickenlooper. "This index will give Colorado a true measure of the state's industry-driven and overall innovation progress. Moving forward, the Colorado Innovation Index will help us continue to educate businesses, investors, researchers, policymakers and others about the state's innovation activity."

The Index evaluated innovation in Colorado across four categories -- ideas, talent, capital, and entrepreneurship. Across all four, Colorado performed strongly, with key assets including its high per capita rates of workers with science and technology degrees, relatively low living costs, high quality of life, and a desirable location in which to recruit and retain the most talented workers.

Highlights from the 2012 Colorado Innovation Index:
· Colorado continues to exceed the national average for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) degree attainment.
· Colorado trails only Massachusetts for having the most workers with a Bachelor's Degree or higher in the nation.
· Colorado is an attractive place to move for all populations, especially the young and talented.
· The nonprofit and university sectors in Colorado contribute an above-average amount to expenditure in R&D, but overall R&D intensity lags the nation.
· Colorado is slightly ahead of the nation in terms of science and engineering academic R&D funding and article output.
· Colorado outperforms many benchmark states in patents, issuing over 450 patents per million residents in 2011.
· Colorado offers a high level of private capital funding in the form of venture capital investments, small business loans and access to bank branches.
· Colorado receives a relatively large amount of public funding from Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Grants, while slightly below the national average in terms of National Institutes of Health funding.
· Colorado's tax favorableness is competitive, ranking higher than the majority of benchmark states.
· Colorado ranks above the national average in terms of breadth of entrepreneurship among both the self-employed and small businesses.
· While Colorado has a high prevalence of self-employment establishments, they are only average in terms of entrepreneurial returns.
· Colorado performs particularly well in terms of small business measures, scoring high relative to the nation and the peer group with respect to births and returns to labor, although net job creation has slowed significantly.

Recognizing the need to identify metrics to study innovation performance and activities in Colorado, COIN worked in partnership with a research team at Colorado State University (CSU), sponsored by Chief Innovation Officer and Dean of CSU's College of Business Ajay Menon and advised by Dr. Stephan Weiler, to build the first ever Colorado Innovation Index.

"Colorado now has standards with which we can measure innovation performance to assess the impact of our innovation-focused initiatives, policies, and investments on our economy," said Kelly Quann, Executive Director of COIN. "We are thrilled to have a benchmark for Colorado that will enable us to track the effectiveness of our investments in science, technology and community building."

The report also acknowledges the state's new key industry program, which continues to expand and evolve since its December 2011 launch. Industry analysis will be augmented in future versions of the report as COIN aligns this effort with those of key collaborators, such as the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.

The Index is the first publication released by COIN, which was created in November 2011 to connect and convene innovation leaders across Colorado's public, private, and academic sectors. The Index will be released annually in conjunction with the Colorado Innovation Network Summit, the first of which begins today. For information about the Summit, please visit

The 2012 Colorado Innovation Index: Reaching our Innovation Summit, can be read at The report will also be found on the COIN website:

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