Updates from the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade

28th July, 2021 by VCBA

We have a few updates that we would like to share with you around ongoing community and business support for our rural communities.

Rural Roadmaps Program: New Team Members

This month we welcomed new team members Bryce Jones, Rural Opportunity Data Analyst, and Karen Wainscott, EDA Rural Program Coordinator, to join our rural recovery and resiliency grant program work. You’ll be seeing both of them with the Rural team on future calls and visits and we look forward to connecting you with them to help you with your priority issues.

2021 Successful Legislation for Rural Economic Development Programs & Funding

OEDIT partnered with the legislature to pass 12 bills that appropriated $228 million in funding to support economic recovery efforts. As we finalize program details, we will be updating our COVID-19 Business and Nonprofit Resources page with program information and timelines.

We know that the volume of different support programs coming out (both within OEDIT and from our other State department partners) can be a little overwhelming. We are here to help you sort through the opportunities to find the right solution for your local businesses and communities amongst new funding and programs as well as our existing programs. We are happy to do the research and make the connection with our partners to make navigating our recovery and resiliency programming a little easier.

Also, as you think about your local economy and business ecosystem’s recovery and future resiliency, please share your thoughts with us about resources that may still be needed and where you’re still seeing gaps in support.

OEDIT Programs with open applications:

  • CLIMBER Loan Fund: The Colorado Loans for Increasing Mainstreet Business and Economic Recovery (CLIMBER) fund provides $250 million to small businesses with working capital loans between $30,000 and $500,000. Below-market interest rates and a 1-year deferred payment option make the program a secure recovery option for small businesses.
  • Colorado Revolving Loan Fund: This fund provides loans that help small to medium-sized Colorado businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These loans range from $5,000 to $750,000. The loans are intended to provide startup and working capital that will help create and retain jobs across Colorado.
  • Meeting and Events Incentive: This program provides $10 million for a 10% cash rebate against eligible hard costs for hosting meetings and events in Colorado that take place on or after July 1, 2021 and on or before December 31, 2022.
  • Restart Industry Associations Program: This program provides awarded tourism industry associations 75 hours of technical assistance and $10,000 of direct marketing from the Colorado Tourism Office to support adoption of the Roadmap to Recovery.

OEDIT Programs with upcoming applications:

  • Colorado Community Revitalization Grant: Applications will open in July or August 2021.This program provides $65 million in gap funding for mixed-use projects in creative districts, historic districts, main streets or neighborhood commercial centers.
  • Colorado Arts Relief Grant: Applications will open in August 2021. This program provides $15.5 million in a second round of funding to support arts, cultural and entertainment artists, crew members, and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program already provided $7.5 million in early 2021 in its first round of funding.
  • Rural Jump-Start Zone Grants: Applications will open in August 2021. Businesses that establish new operations in specified Rural Jump-Start communities will be eligible to receive up to $40,000, or up to $5,000 per new hire.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Business Relief Grants: Applications will open in August 2021. This program provides $1.79 million for grants to small businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Small Business Accelerated Growth Program: Applications will open in September 2021. This program will provide $1.35 million for technical development support to businesses with 19 or fewer employees.
  • Colorado Cannabis (Marijuana) Entrepreneur Program: Applications will open in fall 2021. This program provides $4 million in funding for grants and loans as well as technical assistance for entrepreneurs in the cannabis space.
  • Colorado Startup Loan Program: Applications will open at the end of 2021. This program provides $40 million to small businesses seeking capital to start, restart, or restructure a business. Loans and small grants will be made available through a host of lenders that work in communities throughout the state. OEDIT will work with community partners to reach underserved entrepreneurs and small businesses owners.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Business Startup and Growth Loans: Applications will open in late 2021. This program provides $1 million for loans to small businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Business Technical Assistance: Applications will open in late 2021. This program provides $900,000 to support technical assistance for businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Employee Ownership Loan Fund: Applications will open in late 2021. This program provides loans available to Colorado business owners transitioning their business to Colorado Employee Owned (offering 20% or more employees ownership in the business) and to groups of employees purchasing an existing Colorado business to become Colorado Employee Owned.
  • Employee Ownership Tax Credit Program: Applications will open in early 2022. This program provides tax credits up to $50,000 to Colorado-based businesses that are forming employee stock ownership plans, cooperatives, and employee ownership trusts.
  • State Small Business Credit Initiative: Applications will open in early 2022. As a part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act, the federal government passed the SSBCI bill to fund small business credit support and investment programs. OEDIT will submit its application to receive these funds in December 2021 to increase capacity of existing programs that provide access to capital for new and growing businesses.
  • Reimagine Destinations Program: Applications will open in summer 2022. This program provides awarded destinations a two-day tourism product development workshop, 100 hours of technical assistance, and $20,000 of direct marketing from the Colorado Tourism Office to support the adoption of the Roadmap to Recovery.
  • Energize Colorado Gap Fund: Only applicants who have previously applied for the Gap Fund may receive this new round of funding. In 2020, this fund gave $25 million in support to small businesses and nonprofits. More than 10,000 businesses applied to this fund and requested more than $110 million in relief. In 2021, the legislature provided an additional $15 million in state funds to give more funding to organizations that already applied but did not receive funding in 2020.

Upcoming Learning and connection opportunities

Colorado Creative Industries Summit

The Creative Industries Summit is the annual event for Colorado creatives to connect, learn, and be inspired. More than 300 creative stakeholders from over 60 Colorado cities and towns attend the summit. The two-day event offers exhibits, performances, networking opportunities, speakers, classes, and workshops. The next summit will be held from September 30 to October 1, 2021, in Steamboat Springs.

Remote Employer Spotlight Call

Thursday, July 29 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Free

Energize Colorado is putting together a company spotlight call to highlight companies hiring remote employees throughout Colorado. Joining Energize Colorado on this call will be economic developers and community leaders throughout the state who are interested in connecting with and helping companies like yours with quality jobs find a quality, remote employees. Zoom Link to sign up.

Rural Arts and Culture Funding Opportunities Information Session

Thursday, August 5 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, Free

Join RedLine Contemporary Art Center and Colorado Creative Industries to hear about exciting funding opportunities to support art and culture in rural Colorado. Get a deeper dive into the Arts in Society, the CO Community Revitalization Grant programs and other statewide initiatives.

Where: The Pioneer Room, located in the Sullivan Center at Trinidad State College,

600 Prospect Street, Trinidad, CO

Format: Hybrid- attendees are invited to join in person or by Zoom: link to sign up

RSVP: to Libby Barbee (libby.barbee@state.co.us)

NOCOM | Manufacturing and Trades Show

Thursday, September 23 @ 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

Northern Colorado Manufacturing Partnership is pleased to host the manufacturing trade show IN PERSON showcasing Colorado’s expanding manufacturing sector, connecting suppliers, manufacturers and public partners. The Partnership will be following state and local guidelines. Past attendees of the show have included business owners, presidents, CEOs, sales and business development managers, sales representatives, buyers, marketing coordinators, students, educators, and more.

Where: The Ranch, Larimer County Fairgrounds: 5280 Arena Circle, Loveland, CO 80538

Startup Colorado

Startup Colorado is a FREE peer-to-peer network of entrepreneurs, small business owners, funders, and business support agents is built by rural, for rural. Encourage entrepreneurs in your community to SIGN UP and reach out to the staff to learn more about opportunities through this unique project. 

OEDIT Open Job Opportunities

If you know of someone who would be a great addition to our team, please share the following open job opportunities with them.

Join the Regional Partner Mailing List

Don’t forget to sign up for OEDIT’s regional partner mailing list for the most current OEDIT news, economic development, and small business opportunities. Sign up here.
Please reach out if you have any questions and stay well.
Cheers! Kat

Katharina Papenbrock

Deputy Director of Rural Opportunity

Remote Worker


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