This column has traditionally focused on businesses located in Boulder or nearby Front Range communities. We here at live in Boulder, we work in Boulder and we care about the Boulder community. However, we are also citizens of the state of Colorado and there has been much buzz in the state capitol about building businesses beyond the Front Range. Governor Hickenlooper has focused extensively on expanding the economies in rural Colorado communities. His new program, the Blueprint Initiativeinvites the state’s rural communities and regions to apply for specialized resources to help make their economies more robust.”

With vigorous support from the Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, Governor Hickenlooper is planning to make fiscal improvements throughout the state. His program incentivizes businesses with tax breaks and access to strategic business resources to relocate to rural communities in Colorado. “These initiatives are all outcomes of the informative roundtables we held in communities throughout the state last year,” said Hickenlooper. “We will be deploying the most requested resources across the state through Blueprint Initiatives.”

Through June of this year, rural communities and regions can apply for specialized resources to help address their own unique economic development challenges. Regions and communities apply through their local economic development organization, ensuring that there is broad support for any development initiatives. Selected communities will then be announced in July and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade will make site visits to the regions to determine how resources can be most effectively allocated.

A program like Blueprint Initiatives is crucial for all citizens of Colorado, particularly those with an interest in the local business community. For companies looking to make a positive impact in the state, this program could provide the prefect incentive to look beyond the Front Range to develop offices, hubs of operations, or manufacturing facilities. The stronger the economies of rural communities, the stronger the economy of the state, and the stronger the economies of our home in the Front Range.