Fitzsimons Innovation Community – Building a Life Sciences Pipeline: Environment
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 04/27/2023
Calling Colorado’s Life Sciences Economy Home
Fitzsimons Innovation Community companies choose Colorado as a home for many reasons, and the sunshine and skiing are further down on the list than you might think. With a business-friendly climate, world-class research and academic facilities, and economic stability, Colorado has become a hub where healthcare and bioscience innovators prosper. In addition, a passionate, inclusive, highly educated scientific population, business-friendly tax laws, and relatively lower costs of doing business mean our Community members have even more factors helping them succeed. Life sciences organizations are moving here for the multitude of industry benefits and staying because, well, Colorado is kind of amazing.
The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the nation’s first regional economic development organization. The research and data they’ve collected and analyzed about the Colorado and Denver economic health and viability has been extremely valuable to Fitzsimons Innovation Community and the organizations that choose to make our Community home. The Metro Denver EDC’s vision is to bring global businesses to Colorado, make sure they stay, and they partner with state, county, and local economic development organizations to advance their work.
As part of Metro Denver EDC’s extensive research, Toward a More Competitive Colorado (TMCC) report was developed as a long-term study of Colorado’s competitive position and tracks more than 30 indicators, grouped into eight categories and dating back to the year 2000. This data takes a unique picture of how Colorado’s business environment has progressed during a decades-long period that includes both recessions and periods of economic boom. The trends outlined in the TMCC report provide valuable tools for business leaders, developers, lawmakers, and communities like ours to consider as they decide where to call home and how to engage in commerce once they get there.
Some of the factors examined by the TMCC report include education of the state’s population, prevalence of high-tech employment, and amount of business funding and contract awards received. It’s probably not a surprise that Colorado ranks highly in all of these indicators. We have the second highest rate of secondary education in the nation, the third highest population of high-tech workers, and the fifth highest ranking in venture capital dollars as a percent of State GDP. In 2022 alone, four top-ranked bioscience higher education programs produced more than 1,700 graduates. The report even looks at population health and levels of physical activity, which are consistent drivers of relocation to our state. Spoiler alert: Colorado ranks number one in physical fitness and activity and has for a long time. These factors helped employment in the sector to continually grow, with a 2.9 percent increase in jobs in 2022 over 2021, the 11th consecutive year of growth.
While there are areas to improve, too, the big picture shows there’s a reason so many health and life sciences organizations find their homes in the Centennial State – about 950 companies that paid an average salary of $117,000 as of last year. And the TMCC report doesn’t just focus on where Colorado’s economy has been, it’s also an important tool in how to our state navigates the future. According to Raymond Gonzales, President of Metro Denver EDC, “Our TMCC findings offer a clear picture of where we should collectively focus our efforts on impactful investments in education, workforce development, and business infrastructure while striving to maintain a low tax and regulatory environment.”
As Fitzsimons Innovation Community grows and continues to be the chosen home for so many bioscience visionaries, we look forward to a future built on this rich economy, educated STEM population, and living in a state where businesses and individuals flourish. Our roots are planted deeply in the Colorado soil, and our Community members are quickly learning there really isn’t anywhere else in the country they’d rather grow, succeed, and work on the frontlines of innovation. All that sunshine doesn’t hurt either.