Colorado Bill Introduced to Fund Innovative Projects

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Bipartisan legislation was introduced this week in Colorado that would provide grants to advanced industries for research and development, early stage capital and retention and infrastructure. According to the office of Gov. John Hickenlooper , the legislation will create jobs, increase exports and build stronger partnerships between educational institutions and industry. Here are the details.

* According to Hickenlooper's office, advanced industries are comprised of engineering and research and development-intensive companies that deliver groundbreaking, innovative products. The state has identified seven advanced industries within its borders: aerospace, advanced manufacturing, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, technology and information and infrastructure engineering.

* HB 13-1001, entitled "The Advanced Industries Accelerator Act," is sponsored by Reps. Dave Young, D-Greeley, and Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, along with Sens. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, and Pat Steadman, D-Denver. The bill would create a program that will provide grants to those industries.

* Managed by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, the program will work with research institutions, industry partners and the Economic Development Commission.

* HB 1001 will accelerate the commercialization process, allowing products created to reach the marketplace more quickly, and will set aside early-stage matching funds to help companies attract private investment.

* Research institutions in Colorado can apply for grants of up to $150,000, with preference given to projects that involve multiple industries and institutions, the governor's office stated.

* Grants will also be available for early stage capital and retention to companies with at least 50 percent of employees based in Colorado, as well as for infrastructure funding of up to $500,000 for research and development, production and commercialization facilities.

* The governor's office stated that it will work with the General Assembly on the funding details for the program, though some sources of funding have already been identified.

* According to the Denver Post , House Speaker-elect Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, is trying to locate $15 million to fund the program and is looking to the funds slated for the biosciences and clean-energy technology program, which diverts 50 percent of taxes paid by firms in those industries into an investment fund.

* Additional money may be made by securing funds freed up by planned reforms to the state's enterprise zone program and from the general fund, the Post reported.

* The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade works with partners to create a positive business climate and encourage sustainable job growth. In addition to supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses, the office seeks to position Colorado as a global leader in industries such as tourism, aerospace, bioscience and renewable energy.

* According to the governor's office, advanced industries account for 30 percent of the state's economy, more than half a million high-paying jobs, and hundreds of thousands of support positions.

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