Tips given for advanced industries grants
Several people from advanced manufacturing businesses, together with leaders of all three of Grand Junction’s economic development partners, tried to get a leg up on the competition Monday by learning the best strategies to secure millions of dollars in grant money through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and Trade.
The office expects to distribute about $17 million to Colorado businesses in fiscal year 2017, which starts July 1.
Monday’s meeting was part of a bigger, daylong schedule for the Advanced Industries Road Tour, which made several other stops, but spent the final two hours of the day at Grand Junction City Hall teaching winning grant strategies to local business owners.
Katie Woslager and Catherine Parker from the office’s Advanced Industries division led the discussion. Diane Schwenke of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, Kristi Pollard of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and Jon Maraschin of the Business Incubator Center all took part.
Woslager gave an overview of several state grant programs:
■ Early stage capital and retention for early-stage startups.
■ Infrastructure construction that expands advanced industries.
■ Proof of concept for technologies pulled from research institutions.
■ Investment tax credit for business expansion.
■ Colorado Export for Colorado exporters.
Each program has its own specifications, processes and deadlines. Some require matching funds double or triple the amount to be granted. Others must show industry collaboration among multiple partners.
While specific grants have different requirements, winning applications make it to the top because all the basics were covered, Woslager said.
“It’s amazing how many people don’t do spellcheck,” she said.
Those most likely to rise to the top will demonstrate clear writing, avoid spelling and grammar errors and focus on Colorado connections, she said.
Also, “Emoticons are out,” Woslager told the group, which appeared surprised to learn anyone ever considered them “in.”
Failure to conduct extensive research about an applicant’s market and competitors will also get an application “pushed to the bottom,” she said.
“Even the most amazing technology needs a good market analysis. Do your research to find your competitors and mention them.”