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Colorado grant money available to help targeted industries start, grow

September 17, 2013 Updated: September 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm
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Sometimes, you need money to make money. The state of Colorado is stepping up to help.

Entrepreneurs and those in seven industries deemed vital to the state's economic growth can apply for grants under a new state program to help offset start-up, expansion and research and development costs.

The funding comes from the Advanced Industries Accelerator Act grants program, established this fiscal year by the Colorado Legislature. The money is available to those working in areas state officials have declared "key" to Colorado's future economic growth: advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, technology and information.

The program requires applicants to have matching money in the bank or proof of future funds before receiving a grant, said Karla Tartz, chief strategy officer for the Colorado Office of Economic Development. The required amount of matching funds depends on the type of business and the grant, but it starts at a 1-to-2 match, she said. So for every $1 the state awards in grant money, a business must have $2 in the bank. Money held in escrow counts as money in the bank, she said.

The state also has implemented a "conditional grant award," which would give applicants six months to secure the matching funds needed to receive a grant after it is awarded, she said.

Grant money for the 10-year program, which will award up to $14.5 million annually, comes from the state's General Fund, and from taxes levied on clean technologies and bioscience industries, Tartz said.

Lawmakers decided to offer the grants to help generate growth in the targeted industries after finding they generate 30 percent of state wages, 30 percent of state revenues and 35 percent of state exports, Tartz said at a presentation held at the Tim Gill Center for Public Media on Monday.

Each grant award is capped at $150,000, but can increase, depending on the grant type.

Tartz said the Legislature will evaluate the program's success by studying several outcomes, including how many jobs, start-ups, products and services are created, and whether exports through companies that receive grants increase.

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Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275.

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