In addition to the programs listed below, the state of Colorado also offers many industry-specific incentive programs, particularly for targeted industry clusters within the region and statewide. Examples of these incentives include the Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program, tax credits related to aircraft manufacturing and the Aviation Development Zone, the Biotechnology Sales and Use Tax Refund, the Cleanroom Equipment Sales Tax Exemption, incentives for the export industry (such as the Export Development Grant Program, CO-Exist, Next Step, and Due Diligence reimbursement), the Film Production Incentives Cash Fund, and incentives relating to regional tourism activities (such as the Marketing Matching Grant Program).
Strategic Fund Program: Designed to support high impact job creation opportunities, the Strategic Fund provides an incentive commitment to businesses that will create net new full-time permanent jobs paying at or above average wages, along with other requirements. The cash incentive award may range from $2,000 to $5,000 per net new full-time job created, depending on the wage rate and location.
Job Creation Performance Incentive Fund: The PIF provides a performance-based incentive payment to companies that create net new full-time permanent jobs paying above average wages. The program is designed to support business expansion, development, and relocation throughout Colorado, and incentives range from $1,500 to $4,500 per net new full-time job.
Job Growth Incentive: This program provides a state income tax credit to businesses undertaking job creation projects in Colorado. Businesses are required to create a minimum of 20 net new jobs during the credit period, with an average annual wage equal to at least 110% of the average wage rate in the county in which the business is located. The maximum tax credit available is calculated using 50% of the FICA paid by the business on the net job growth for each year in the credit period.
Certified Capital Companies (CAPCOs): The state of Colorado partners with four independently operated certified capital companies that make loans and provide equity to Colorado businesses. The CAPCO investment generally ranges from $100,000 to $3.3 million, although requests for less than $100,000 are considered on a case-by-case basis. Funding parameters are negotiable, but typically include investment via debt, equity, or debt-to-equity conversion.
Venture Capital Authority: Designed to provide seed and early-stage capital to businesses, the VCA (through its fund manager, High Country, LLC) provides investments generally ranging from $250,000 to $3.375 million, although the fund manager typically targets an investment size from $500,000 to $2 million. Funding parameters are negotiable, and the fund manager may partner with other funding institutions if needed.
Colorado Capital Access: The CCA helps small and medium-sized businesses access capital by providing a pooled loan-loss reserve fund that lenders may use to recover losses from loans registered with the program. Each registered loan is eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match of reserve funds, up to 7% of the loan amount. The CCA program currently supports a maximum loan size of up to $750,000, and reserve funds are pooled in an account established with the lender.
Colorado Credit Reserve: The Colorado Credit Reserve (CCR) program creates greater access to capital for small businesses in Colorado by using small amounts of public resources to encourage private bank financing. The program provides an incentive for banks to offer businesses loans by creating a pooled reserve account to fund losses associated with loans registered in the program. The CCR currently supports a maximum loan size of up to $500,000.
Cash Collateral Support: Designed to help small and medium-sized businesses access capital that would otherwise be unavailable due to collateral shortfalls, the CCS program allows lenders to apply for up to $500,000 in collateral support to strengthen small business applications. The CCS program provides an efficient and low-cost credit enhancement option, and the maximum loan size the CCS program currently supports is $5 million.
Enterprise Zone Program: The Enterprise Zone program provides tax incentives to encourage businesses to locate or expand in areas of Colorado identified as economically distressed. Companies located within an Enterprise Zone may qualify for up to ten different tax credits and incentives to encourage job creation and economic development within these areas.
Colorado Customized Job Training: The state currently utilizes two programs (Colorado FIRST and Colorado Existing Industry) to provide job training grants to companies locating or expanding within the state. These programs provide financial assistance and help individual businesses to design specialized training through a cooperative effort with the Colorado Community College and occupational Education System. The current maximum award is $800 per employee trained.
Business Loan Funds: The state of Colorado provides funding to 14 distinct business loan funds in an effort to promote and foster economic development processes by providing loans and loan guarantees in support of businesses. The BLF program serves the majority of rural areas of Colorado and is currently available only within non-entitlement communities. Each loan program is locally driven, with local approvals by a loan review committee and a board of directors.
Infrastructure Assistance: This program provides funds to assist with the construction of public infrastructure required by specific businesses, primarily in rural areas of the state. Generally, eligible improvements are owned and/or maintained by a public or quasi-public entity, and funds may be provided to assist in development of infrastructure relating to transportation, energy, or sewer and water lines. Award amounts usually range from $100,000 to $500,000.
Planning and Feasibility Study Grants: Designed to provide funding to determine the feasibility of a project or to plan for a project that will be located in non-entitlement areas of the state, this program assists businesses in providing positive economic impact, particularly for the low-to-moderate income population. Funding may be provided up to $20,000 per study.
Private Activity Bonds: The PAB program provides access to tax-exempt debt that can be utilized to create a loan for a project at a tax-exempt interest rate or a mortgage credit certificate. The federal government provides annual allocations of this bonding authority to the states, and the program is designed to encourage private investment in housing, higher education, jobs, solid and hazardous waste treatment, and water and sewer facilities.
Manufacturing Revenue Bonds: This program provides tax-exempt PAB funding that is targeted to small manufacturers in Colorado. The MRB program provides for the financing of real estate, machinery and equipment associated with expansion projects specific to manufacturers. Total funds statewide for this program are capped under federal guidelines.