Bill seeks to help tech startups

Lawmakers rolled out Monday a measure to offer $15 million in grants to Colorado’s tech startups.

The Advanced Industries Accelerator Act “will create high-skilled jobs in Colorado, increase our global competitiveness and drive capital investment,´ said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley. “I’m very pleased to have Gov. Hickenlooper and a bipartisan legislative coalition backing this bill.”

Young, who introduced the bill, and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino announced the measure at a news conference in Denver attended by Gov. John Hickenlooper; House co-sponsor Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen; Senate co-sponsors Rollie Heath, D-Boulder; and Pat Steadman, D-Denver.

HB13-1001 provides as much as $15 million a year for as many as 10 years to companies in the aerospace, life-science, electronics, energy, infrastructure engineering and information technology industries. Colorado-based tech companies would be eligible for proof-of-concept grants capped at $150,000; early-stage capital and retention grants of as much as $250,000; and infrastructure grants of no more than $500,000.

“Colorado already has a network of world-class research institutions, including federal labs and universities, innovative companies and a highly educated workforce,” Young said. “Aligning these assets around opportunities to grow the advanced industries will establish Colorado as a global competitor and technology hub, and turn our research strengths into viable companies with good jobs.”

Ferrandino will seek to make the advanced industries bill the first introduced in the House.

“This bipartisan legislation marks a major investment in Colorado’s long-term economic prosperity,” he said. “It sends a clear message to Colorado’s innovators that we are there for them over the long haul, and to leaders everywhere that Colorado can compete with anyone for any industry.”

The Legislature convenes for its regular session Wednesday.

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