Northern Colorado Incentive Programs

A number of federal, state and local incentive programs are available to new and expanding businesses in Northern Colorado.

Local discretionary incentives vary by community and are determined using customized community strategies designed to create an incentive package specific to the needs of each individual firm. NCEA partners with primary employers by offering guidance and ombudsman assistance in working with each local government throughout the incentive process.

Local Incentives

Local discretionary incentives are determined on a case-by-case basis using customized community strategies designed to create a package specific to the needs of each individual firm. Depending on the specific location, the incentives listed below may be available to businesses in Larimer and Weld County.

Cash Incentives for New Primary Jobs 

Depending upon the locality, these community-based programs provide incentives to qualifying firms providing net new employment with wages that are at least 120% of the County average (or higher, depending on the locality). Incentive amounts can range from $500 to $2,000 per net new job, depending on employee wage and benefits and residency requirements.

Abatement of Fees and Taxes 

Depending on the locality, businesses may seek deferment or waiver of various fees and taxes including: building permit/inspection/construction material fees and use taxes; capital expansion fees relating to law enforcement; fire protection; general government; and street capital expansion fees.

Larimer/Weld County Revolving Loan Fund 

Funded by state Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars, the RLF provides financial assistance to firms expanding or locating in rural areas of the county. The RLF can provide short-term financing for up to 45% of project costs, and may assume a second or third collateral position in order to leverage other lender involvement.

Community Development Revolving Loan Fund 

This revolving loan fund will assist with the financial needs of for-profit businesses expanding/locating in the Greeley community. This pool of monies provides gap financing for up to 45% of a company’s lending needs, up to a maximum of $125,000. The GCDF can take a second collateral position behind the bank or SBA lender. Interest rates are negotiable based on the national prime rate. A personal guarantee is required and jobs must be created.

Real Estate & Business Personal Property Tax Rebate 

Local and county jurisdictions may provide personal property tax rebates on a case-by-case basis. The percentage rebated can be as high as 100% of the levy on personal property for up to 10 years.

Manufacturing Equipment Use Tax Rebate 

This program permits local manufacturing firms to request a partial rebate of use taxes paid on qualifying equipment. Approval is typically managed by the local City Councils.

Private Activity Bond Financing 

Local jurisdictions will consider sponsorship of the tax-exempt financing provided by the PAB program, given compliance with certain program requirements.

Utility and Energy Efficiency Assistance 

Designed to encourage existing and new users to achieve high energy efficiency standards, a variety of utility programs are available (depending on the locality). Potential benefits include free integrated design assistance, funding for industrial building analyses, and grants for building re-commissioning and mechanical upgrades.

Industrial Water Bank

Developers may be required to supply raw water in the form of water stocks or cash to provide the raw water needed to service a development. At the discretion of the Greeley Water Board and City Council, the city may offer industrial water bank water shares at a discounted rate, reducing raw water cost requirements to development occurring within the Greeley city limits.

Expedited Development Review 

Most jurisdictions within the region may provide for a fast-track approval process that expedites the review protocol for qualified businesses.

Urban Renewal Areas Many incentives are available from local jurisdictions (as well as the state of Colorado) for redevelopment projects within certain areas of the locality.

Tax-Increment Financing 

Sales and property tax increments generated by new development may be available to help finance development project components such as infrastructure, environmental clean-up, land assembly, or public improvements necessary for a development project to proceed. This program currently applies to areas under the jurisdiction of various Urban Renewal Authorities.

State Incentives

In addition to the programs listed below, the state of Colorado offers many industry-specific incentive programs, particularly for targeted industry clusters within the region and statewide. Examples of these incentives include the Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program, tax credits related to aircraft manufacturing and the Aviation Development Zone, the Biotechnology Sales and Use Tax Refund, the Cleanroom Equipment Sales Tax Exemption, incentives for the export industry (such as the Export Development Grant Program, CO-Exist, Next Step, and Due Diligence reimbursement), the Film Production Incentives Cash Fund, and incentives relating to regional tourism activities (such as the Marketing Matching Grant Program).

For more information, visit the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Strategic Fund Program

Designed to support high-impact job creation opportunities, the Strategic Fund provides an incentive commitment to businesses that will create net new full-time permanent jobs paying at or above average wages, along with other requirements. The cash incentive award may range from $2,000 to $5,000 per net new full-time job created, depending on the wage rate and location.

Job Creation Performance Incentive Fund

The PIF provides a performance-based incentive payment to companies that create net new full-time permanent jobs paying above average wages. The program is designed to support business expansion, development, and relocation throughout Colorado, and incentives range from $1,500 to $4,500 per net new full-time job.

Job Growth Incentive

This program provides a state income tax credit to businesses undertaking job creation projects in Colorado. Businesses are required to create a minimum of 20 net new jobs during the credit period, with an average annual wage equal to at least 110% of the average wage rate in the county in which the business is located. The maximum tax credit available is calculated using 50% of the FICA paid by the business on the net job growth for each year in the credit period.

Certified Capital Companies (CAPCOs)

The state of Colorado partners with four independently operated certified capital companies that make loans and provide equity to Colorado businesses. The CAPCO investment generally ranges from $100,000 to $3.3 million, although requests for less than $100,000 are considered on a case-by-case basis. Funding parameters are negotiable, but typically include investment via debt, equity, or debt-to-equity conversion.

Venture Capital Authority

Designed to provide seed and early-stage capital to businesses, the VCA (through its fund manager, High Country, LLC) provides investments generally ranging from $250,000 to $3.375 million, although the fund manager typically targets an investment size from $500,000 to $2 million. Funding parameters are negotiable, and the fund manager may partner with other funding institutions if needed.

Colorado Capital Access

The CCA helps small and medium-sized businesses access capital by providing a pooled loan-loss reserve fund that lenders may use to recover losses from loans registered with the program. Each registered loan is eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match of reserve funds, up to 7% of the loan amount. The CCA program currently supports a maximum loan size of up to $750,000, and reserve funds are pooled in an account established with the lender.

Colorado Credit Reserve

The Colorado Credit Reserve (CCR) program creates greater access to capital for small businesses in Colorado by using small amounts of public resources to encourage private bank financing. The program provides an incentive for banks to offer businesses loans by creating a pooled reserve account to fund losses associated with loans registered in the program. The CCR currently supports a maximum loan size of up to $500,000.

Cash Collateral Support

Designed to help small and medium-sized businesses access capital that would otherwise be unavailable due to collateral shortfalls, the CCS program allows lenders to apply for up to $500,000 in collateral support to strengthen small business applications. The CCS program provides an efficient and low-cost credit enhancement option, and the maximum loan size the CCS program currently supports is $5 million.

Enterprise Zone Program

The Enterprise Zone program provides tax incentives to encourage businesses to locate or expand in areas of Colorado identified as economically distressed. Companies located within an Enterprise Zone may qualify for up to 10 different tax credits and incentives to encourage job creation and economic development within these areas.

Colorado Customized Job Training

The state currently utilizes two programs (Colorado FIRST and Colorado Existing Industry) to provide job training grants to companies locating or expanding within the state. These programs provide financial assistance and help individual businesses to design specialized training through a cooperative effort with the Colorado Community College and occupational Education System. The current maximum award is $800 per employee trained.

Business Loan Funds

The state of Colorado provides funding to 14 distinct business loan funds in an effort to promote and foster economic development processes by providing loans and loan guarantees in support of businesses. The BLF program serves the majority of rural areas of Colorado and is currently available only within non-entitlement communities. Each loan program is locally driven, with local approvals by a loan review committee and a board of directors.

Infrastructure Assistance

This program provides funds to assist with the construction of public infrastructure required by specific businesses, primarily in rural areas of the state. Generally, eligible improvements are owned and/or maintained by a public or quasi-public entity, and funds may be provided to assist in development of infrastructure relating to transportation, energy, or sewer and water lines. Award amounts usually range from $100,000 to $500,000.

Planning and Feasibility Study Grants

Designed to provide funding to determine the feasibility of a project or to plan for a project that will be located in non-entitlement areas of the state, this program assists businesses in providing positive economic impact, particularly for the low-to-moderate income population. Funding may be provided up to $20,000 per study.

Private Activity Bonds

The PAB program provides access to tax-exempt debt that can be utilized to create a loan for a project at a tax-exempt interest rate or a mortgage credit certificate. The federal government provides annual allocations of this bonding authority to the states, and the program is designed to encourage private investment in housing, higher education, jobs, solid and hazardous waste treatment, and water and sewer facilities.

Manufacturing Revenue Bonds

This program provides tax-exempt PAB funding that is targeted to small manufacturers in Colorado. The MRB program provides for the financing of real estate, machinery and equipment associated with expansion projects specific to manufacturers. Total funds statewide for this program are capped under federal guidelines.

Federal Incentives

Community Development Block Grant Program

The CDBG program is designed to help provide required infrastructure to encourage new business development and expansion in non-entitlement communities (most of the region is eligible, with the exceptions of areas within the cities of Fort Collins, Greeley, and Loveland). Administered by Colorado’s OEDIT office, grants provided may be used for construction and/or improvement of public infrastructure. Award amounts generally range from $100,000 to $500,000. The support of the local jurisdiction and their willingness to provide a partial match is often required.

Small Business Administration

SBA offices offer a wide range of programs designed to support small business development, including loan guarantees, access to surety bond guarantees and the industrial-revenue bond program, as well as links to venture capital funds for startups and high growth technology companies.

U.S.D.A. Rural Development

Designed to promote a dynamic and growing business environment in rural Colorado, the USDA Rural Development offices provide a wide range of programs to assist rural communities with infrastructure, business and cooperative development, essential community facilities, and housing needs. In general, areas eligible for assistance include unincorporated rural areas and cities and towns with populations less than 20,000.

For additional information or direct assistance relating to economic incentives available to businesses choosing to relocate to or expand within the region, please contact us.

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