Gov. John Hickenlooper joined Speaker-elect Mark Ferrandino, Senate President-elect John Morse, and members of the General Assembly today to announce the bipartisan House Bill 13-1001 "The Advanced Industries Accelerator Act." The economic development legislation will create new highly-skilled jobs, increase exports, drive innovation and capital investment, create stronger partnerships between educational institutions and industry, accelerate technology commercialization and promote Colorado's research and development activities.
"We can boost Colorado's advanced industries by increasing their access to capital," Hickenlooper said. "These types of bipartisan efforts will help Colorado continue to grow and sustain a long-term innovative ecosystem that creates highly-skilled jobs and prepares Coloradans to fill them."
Advanced industries are comprised of engineering and R&D-intensive companies that deliver groundbreaking, innovative products. They share common workforce skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as manufacturing. The economic impact of these industries is significant, accounting for 30 percent of the state's economy, 520,300 high-paying jobs, and hundreds of thousands of ancillary jobs.
Colorado has identified seven advanced industries in the state: aerospace, advanced manufacturing, bioscience, electronics, energy & natural resources, technology & information and infrastructure engineering.
"This bipartisan legislation marks a major investment in Colorado's long-term economic prosperity," Ferrandino said. "It sends a clear message to Colorado's innovators that we are there for them over the long haul, and to leaders everywhere that Colorado can compete with anyone for any industry."
HB 1001, sponsored by Reps Dave Young (D-Greeley) and Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen) and Sens. Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) and Pat Steadman (D-Denver), provides for an incentive that encourages more collaboration between industry, research institutions and federal laboratories, and private-sector funders. It will create a program that will provide grants to those advanced industries that are seeking funding for proof of concept research and development, early stage capital and retention, and infrastructure.
The program will be managed out of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), which will work with research institutions, industry partners and the Economic Development Commission to qualify companies and disburse funds.
"The funding that Colorado's advanced industries will receive through these new grants will help convert ideas into real jobs, enable us to keep and grow companies we help create, and build a foundation to help companies succeed," said Ken Lund, executive director of OEDIT. "Colorado has a vast network of assets including world class research institutions and federal labs, universities, innovative companies, and a highly educated workforce. Aligning, leveraging and integrating these assets around opportunities to grow the advanced industries will establish Colorado as a global competitor and technology hub, and turn Colorado's basic research strengths into viable companies that remain here."
How HB 1001 will help the Colorado economy:
Colorado's research institutions and federal labs currently bring in close to $2 billion annually in advanced technology related research funds. Additional investment in the advanced industries will help leverage even more dollars into the state, which will translate into more products and jobs.
HB 1001 will accelerate the commercialization process, enabling Colorado companies and products to spin-out of Colorado research institutions and significantly reduce the time-to-market cycle.
Setting aside a minimum amount of early-stage matching funds will help Colorado-based technology companies attract private investment.
Funding will be directed at strategic points in a company's capital cycle, which will help retain assets and investments in Colorado and create stronger ties to Colorado for future growth.
Eligibility Requirements for Grants:
Research performed at Colorado research institutions
Grant size limited to $150,000
Preference given to those projects that focus on technologies that cut across multiple advanced industries and across multiple research institutions. Such collaborative projects may qualify for funding in excess of $150,000
Matching funds shall be 3 (state) to 1 (institution)
Early Stage Capital & Retention Grants
At least 50 percent of employees based in Colorado
Grant size limited to $250,000
Preference given to companies that provide services or products across multiple advanced industries. Such companies may qualify for funding in excess of $250,000
Matching funds shall be 1 (state) to 2 (private)
Grant size limited to $500,000
Preference given to those projects that focus on technology or product development that cut across multiple advanced industries and across multiple research institutions. Such collaborative projects may qualify for funding in excess of $500,000
Matching funds shall be 1 (state) to 2 (private)
Preference for research and development, production and commercialization facilities
Preference for workforce development through centers of excellences tied to advanced industries' workforce needs
Some funding sources for HB 1001 have been identified, and the Governor's Office will work with the General Assembly on the funding details.