Colorado – Boosting Economic Development in Rural Counties

Boosting Economic Development in Rural Counties, Polis Administration and Small Business Administration Announce New Governor-Designated Covered HUBZones

Program brings good-paying jobs to rural and low income communities across Colorado

DENVER, CO (STL.News) Governor Jared Polis, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced the expansion of HUBZone, a program to support small businesses that hire low-income residents in Archuleta, El Paso, Mesa, Montrose, San Miguel and Weld counties with opportunities to compete in the federal marketplace.

“My administration is focused on bringing good-paying jobs for Coloradans, supporting rural small businesses, and ensuring every Coloradan can thrive.  We welcome the latest HUBZones designation, which builds on our ongoing work supporting rural economic development and providing equitable access to good-paying jobs across Colorado,” said Governor Jared Polis.

“This expansion of HUBZone areas in Colorado is a big step in bringing rural communities into a national network of small businesses with access to valuable support resources and contracting programs to better leverage the federal marketplace,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.  “We look forward to partnering with more small businesses in these newly designated regions and we’re happy to see more requests from our governors to expand covered areas in their states to support economic growth.”

“I’m incredibly proud of our Business Funding and Incentives and Rural Prosperity teams for partnering with the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (CO-PTAC) and persevering to get this expansion across the finish line,” said OEDIT Executive Director Patrick Meyers.  “This program will open countless doors for businesses and workers in our state’s rural communities.”

The HUBzone, or “historically underutilized business” zones, fuels small business growth with a goal of awarding at least three percent of federal contract dollars to HUBZone-certified companies each year.  The newly designated areas are now viewable on the SBA’s HUBZone map as “Governor-Designated Covered Areas.”  To be eligible for this program, communities must have a population of 50,000 or fewer, an average unemployment rate of at least 120 percent of the average unemployment rate for the U.S. or state (whichever is lowest), and be located outside of an urbanized area.

The program allows governors to apply each year to expand their zones by 10 percent of the current number of zones. Colorado intends to apply annually to maximize the impact of this program in rural Colorado.

The Colorado PTAC supports small businesses around Colorado in obtaining federal, state and local government contracts and was instrumental in supporting this expansion of HubZones in Colorado.  Small businesses can contact the PTAC based on the information below.

Montrose, a participating county, is also enrolled in Colorado’s Just Transition program, which supports coal workers, employers and communities as they plan for the future closings of coal plants and develop resilient economic opportunities.

For information about the HUBZone program and to see all active zones in Colorado, visit www.sba.gov/hubzone.  For information about the Colorado PTAC, visit www.coloradoptac.org.

About the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works with partners to create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth.  Under the leadership of Governor Jared Polis, we strive to advance the State’s economy through financial and technical assistance that fosters local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado.  OEDIT offers a host of programs and services tailored to support business development at every level including business retention services, business relocation services, and business funding and incentives.  Our office includes the Global Business Development division;  Colorado Tourism Office;  Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office;  Colorado Creative Industries;  Business Financing & Incentives division;  the Colorado Small Business Development Network;  Cannabis Business Office;  Colorado Office of Film, TV & Media;  the Minority Business Office;  Employee Ownership Office;  and Rural Opportunity Office.  Learn more at oedit.colorado.gov.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership.  As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster.  It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.  To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.