The Grand Valley will see another new business under the Colorado Rural Jump Start Program, according to the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

That new business, Violet Gro, is a tech company that specializes in lighting systems to help indoor crops grow better, such as industrial hemp.

The jump start program, approved by the Colorado Legislature in 2015, has brought 15 new companies to the region in an attempt to boost job growth and economic development. It is a collaboration of GJEP, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and Colorado Mesa University.

"Our rural jump start program is designed to support new, innovative businesses in Colorado that help grow rural Colorado economies with high-paying jobs that benefit the region," said Betsy Markey, executive director of the state economic development office that vets and approves new companies to be under the program. "We look forward to seeing Violet Gro's impact on Grand Junction and Colorado's hemp industry."

Companies approved under the jump start program can receive up to an eight-year break on state sales and use taxes and local property taxes. Their employees also can avoid paying state income taxes during that time.

Last fall, the state office approved two other new companies into the program, both tech related. They were Visual Globe, a Denver-based company that produces three-dimensional computer models of a company's assets, and Dude Solutions, a North Carolina-base company that provides cloud-based management software for businesses and organizations.

Under the terms of the program, Violet Gro is to partner with CMU on developing joint research on the technology, which is a patented ultra-violet light technique designed to help plants grow without creating too much heat. The program also is to create an internship program with university students. 

"We are thrilled that Violet Gro is the latest tech company to choose Grand Junction," said GJEP Executive Director Robin Brown. "The decision to launch in western Colorado proves that we have the skilled workforce and advanced infrastructure to support a company of its caliber. Tech is one of our fastest growing sectors."

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