Advanced Industries Grants

Colorado invests in life sciences.

As a designated Advanced Industry in Colorado, life sciences makes a significant contribution to the state’s diverse and fast-growing economy, creating high-paying jobs for more than 89,000 Coloradans.

Grant programs provide important sources of non-dilutive funding for researchers and companies at all stages of commercialization.

Advanced Industries Grant Program Impact

The Advanced Industries Grant Program provides critical, early-stage funding for promising life sciences companies. Legislators expanded the successful program in 2013.

Since inception, the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) has awarded more than 400 Advanced Industries grants to Colorado bioscience companies. The program makes a significant impact in the state, creating:

  • 79 new life science companies
  • 773 direct jobs
  • $551.7 million in follow-on grants and investments in bioscience companies

Research-Stage Grants

Advanced Industry Proof-of-Concept Grant
State grant for applied research performed at Colorado research institutions.
Grant size limited to $150,000 with a three (state) to one (institution) match.

Emerging Companies

Advanced Industry Early-Stage Company Grant
State grant for Colorado companies with 50 or fewer employees, less than $10M annual revenue and less than $20M from investors. Grant size limited to $250,000 with a one (state) to one (company) match.

Advanced Industry Export Accelerator Grant
Provides stipends to businesses new to exporting or expanding into new export markets. Grant size limited to $15,000 with a one (state) to one (company) match.

Advanced Industry Investor Tax Credit
Offering individuals who invest over $10,000 into a Colorado Advanced Industry company the ability to receive a 25-30% tax credit, up to $50,000.

Cash Collateral Support (CCS)
Creates greater access to capital for small and medium-sized businesses operating in Colorado that are experiencing difficulty securing credit due to collateral shortfalls.

Venture Capital Authority (VCA)
A venture capital funding program designed to fill a gap in private capital markets and provide seed and early-stage capital investments in Colorado companies.

Rural Jump-Start Zone Program
Provides tax relief to new businesses and new hires of these businesses that are located in certain economically-distressed areas of rural Colorado. Download the fact sheet.

Late-Stage Companies

Colorado FIRST and Existing Industry-Job Training Grants
Programs invest in the labor force and incentivize a business’ growth in Colorado by providing grants to companies that are locating or expanding in Colorado.

Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit
Provides a state income tax credit to businesses undertaking job creation projects that would not occur in Colorado without this program.

All Stages

Advanced Industry Workforce Development
Providing companies a reimbursement for expenses related to hiring an intern or apprentice.

Colorado Enterprise Zone Tax Credits

In addition to the above tax credits, which are available to all Colorado businesses that meet eligibility requirements regardless of location, Colorado also offers several tax credits to businesses that locate in a designated “enterprise zone” (EZ). [1]  EZs are economically distressed areas as determined by the Colorado Economic Development Commission. Economically distressed areas include areas that have high unemployment rates (25% above state average), low per capita income (25% below state average), and/or slower population growth (less than 25% of state average in rural areas). This program structure is similar to the Advanced Industry Investment Tax Credit, mentioned earlier, which offers increased credits to companies located in EZs.

Enterprise Zone (EZ) Tax Credits

Designed to promote a business-friendly environment in economically distressed areas throughout Colorado. The Enterprise Zone Research & Experimentation credits are available only to businesses located in EZs, which makes them fairly limited in scope and may not be as helpful as they could be in encouraging innovation in Colorado. Colorado should expand or restructure the credit to incentivize companies to spend on R&D. 

Research & Experimentation Enterprise Zone Tax Credit

The Research & Experimentation Enterprise Zone Tax Credit provides a 3% credit based on the increase of a company’s research and experimental expenditures within an enterprise zone over the average of such expenditures conducted in the same enterprise zone during the previous two income tax years. The total amount must be divided equally over four years. The company can claim 25% in the year the expenditure is made, and 25% each over the following 3 years.

New Employee Enterprise Zone Tax Credit

The Colorado Enterprise Zone New Employee Tax Credit allows any business with an establishment in a designated Enterprise Zone to claim an income tax credit of $1,100 per new employee. Businesses in Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zones earn an extra $2,000 per employee in addition to the $1,100. New and existing businesses may qualify for the credit, as long as they maintain operations in the Enterprise Zone during the entire tax year. 

Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Projects - A tax credit provided under new section 48D of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-148). The credit is a tax benefit targeted to therapeutic discovery projects.  

Federal Grant Programs

Federal grant programs offer companies within Colorado’s life sciences ecosystem additional sources of critical funding to support business growth and product development.

Federal grant information is available in a searchable, mobile database at grants.gov.

Key grant programs include:

  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
  • Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Department of Defense (DOD)
  • Department of Energy (DOE)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

The NIH offers helpful tips for first-time grant applications in an informational video: