Polis Administration Announces Grants to Create Colorado Technology Hubs

Advancing clean tech, cyber and aerospace and defense industries
DENVER - April 25, 2024 - PRLog -- Governor Polis and the Business Funding & Incentives Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced the Colorado Technology Hub Development Grant awards. Three recipients across the state will receive funding to advance Colorado's leadership in key technology areas, grow regional economies and create new job opportunities for Coloradans.

"From our world-class institutions of higher education to our highly talented and educated workforce, Colorado is home to so much amazing innovation. We are developing the technologies of tomorrow right here, and Colorado Technology Hubs will ensure our state continues to be a national leader," said Governor Polis.

In September 2023, the Colorado Economic Development Commission earmarked $2 million to support the development of Colorado Technology Hubs. The recipients announced will focus on developing the state's clean tech, infrastructure, cyber, and aerospace and defense industries, with special emphasis on increasing the state's ability to develop new technologies, transition those technologies from the lab to the private sector, and build them in Colorado. Each Colorado Tech Hub was evaluated for its commitment to workforce development and serving rural and historically underrepresented communities across the state. Their work will also advance Colorado's transition to renewable and clean energy technologies.

Colorado CleanRange Coalition - Up to $625,000.
Based in the Denver Metro area, the Colorado CleanRange Coalition (CCC) seeks to support Colorado's leading role in the adoption of clean energy technologies. The CCC will develop the CleanRange Connect platform, which will include a statewide asset database and support regular coalition convenings; launch a Virtual CleanRange Accelerator and Testbed Network to foster innovation of new technologies; and implement a workforce development initiative to identify key skill gaps and provide targeted training for Colorado's workforce.

Resilient & Adaptive Cyber Protection of Industrial Control Devices & Systems (RAPIDS) - Up to $625,000.
Based in Grand Junction, the RAPIDS consortium looks to enhance cyber security for critical environmental and national security infrastructure starting with the Colorado River. The RAPIDS consortium will develop a series of initiatives, including the development of a college-level curriculum to support the next generation of cybersecurity professionals; enhancing the cybersecurity workforce to securely manage water resources and infrastructure; enable the secure and efficient management and measurement of water resources; provide a service economy to roughly 300 municipal water districts along the Colorado River; and create a model for the secure management of rivers nationwide.

Securing Space Assets Coalition - Up to $750,000.
Based in Colorado Springs, the Securing Space Assets Coalition will work to enhance Colorado's competitive edge in aerospace, defense, and cybersecurity. Specifically, the consortium seeks to leverage partnerships with foundational research labs in order to provide data science, cyber technology, and business resources in support of Colorado's robust space economy.

"As we work to develop tomorrow's most critical technologies, we have the opportunity to spur growth and innovation across the state so that Coloradans of all backgrounds can benefit from these incredible new opportunities. Each of these Colorado Tech Hubs will build on regional strengths while working to create inclusive and equitable ecosystems that support a Colorado economy that works for everyone," said OEDIT's Executive Director, Eve Lieberman.

"The Colorado TechHub grant is transformative in accelerating Colorado's cleantech ecosystem. Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) and CCC will catalyze job creation, support entrepreneurs to commercialization and help build our skilled workforce. Leveraging our partnership and OEDIT's support, we are committed to ensuring the benefits are widely shared across the state and we expect significant impact in new capital investment, new jobs and new technologies," Laura Hickernell, Executive Director of Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA).

"We're thrilled to be a part of such a diverse coalition focused on diversifying our economy and protecting our most critical infrastructure," said Colorado Mesa University President, John Marshall. "This investment will help us continue our efforts to protect critical water resources right here in Mesa County."

"The Award of $725,000 for the Space Asset Tech Hub is an endorsement of Colorado and the Pikes Peak region's strategy to supercharge technological innovation in the aerospace and defense sector to create jobs and strengthen economic and national security," said Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer, President & CEO of Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. "This funding will enable Catalyst Campus to create a cybersecurity gaming lab for students, accelerate access and participation of small businesses in the SIBR/STTR program, and create virtual internships through the establishment of a Data Mine of the Rockies lab by Space ISAC. These programs will connect our future workforce to aerospace and cybersecurity companies solving real-world problems to protect our space assets."

All three Colorado Tech Hubs grew out of the TechHubNow! Initiative (https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__usw2...), a public-private initiative launched by Gov. Polis in April 2023 to strategically position Colorado for federal designation as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (Tech Hub) under the CHIPS and Science Act. That process led to the successful federal designation of the Elevate Quantum Tech Hub (https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__usw2...), focused on the advancement of the quantum industry and positioning Elevate Quantum to compete for up to $70 million in federal funding.

OEDIT and the EDC developed the Colorado Technology Hub Development Grant as part of the Federal Fast Forward Program designed to maximize Colorado's ability to leverage once in a generation federal funding opportunities. The grants are intended to support the implementation of Tech Hub applications that emerged from the TechHubNow! Initiative and did not receive federal designation or funding. By providing seed funding, which includes one-to-one matching requirements for recipients, OEDIT and the EDC hope to spur each Colorado Tech Hub to become a self-sustaining innovation center.
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