From the lab to the consumer CCIA is leading the way on innovative policy solutions

By Chris Shapard | Oct 01, 2013

Historically, public policy in the form of legislation, regulation and executive orders has had a huge impact on the business community. Cleantech is no exception. Cleantech is a broad term encompassing industries across the spectrum including renewables, water, transportation, the built environment, advanced biofuels and a whole host of innovative technologies emerging to use traditional fuel sources as efficiently as possible.

Despite continued gridlock and partisan games of chicken in Washington DC with our economy (look-up continuing resolution, government shut-down and lifting the debt ceiling) and tax provisions in which thousands of American jobs are at stake (see Production Tax Credit), state legislatures across the country are leading the way with innovative and creative policy decisions.

We need only look at the recent economic development and cleantech legislation passed at the now completely covered golden dome in Denver. Colorado is admirably filling the leadership vacuum occurring now in DC. This past session the Advanced Industries Acceleration Act passed with strong bipartisan support. Created to promote growth and sustainability in the advanced industries sectors, the grants will help drive innovation, accelerate commercialization, encourage public-private partnerships, increase access to early stage capital and create a strong ecosystem that increases the state’s global competitiveness.

This is arguably the most important economic development bill to ever get signed into law in Colorado. This program invests millions in seven key advanced industries covering everything from cleantech to bioscience to companies manufacturing the innovative products we need in the 21st Century. This current fiscal year there will be over $14 million available in four different grant programs including Proof of Concept, Early Stage, Infrastructure and AI Export. Investing in these areas is paramount to ensuring the state taxpayer funded research taking place at our universities can become new start-ups that will grow into healthy, job –creating businesses. Colorado needs this investment not only to attract new businesses to the state but also to retain and grow the technologies and talent coming out of our universities and research institutions.

Colorado’s companies and workforce compete in an increasingly competitive global economy. States across the country throw huge financial packages to lure companies to their state or region. No longer can Colorado just count on our natural beauty, climate and quality of life to attract companies and talent. Growing competition only underscores the importance of the Advanced Industries Grant Program and places Colorado on the map in the race to develop the cutting edge technologies of the future and, most importantly, the jobs that go with them.

Click here for more information about how to apply and what grant category best fits your company’s needs.

Chris Shapard is the Executive Director of the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association. In addition to her role with CCIA, Chris is also an ex-officio member of Governor John Hickenlooper’s Venture Capital Investment Advisory Committee, she chairs the Colorado Office of Economic Development’s Key Industries Network Energy Task Force and she was a 2013 finalist for Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business award.