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With a vibrant, highly educated workforce and one of the best business economies in the country, there’s no question that metro Denver offers relocating and expanding companies everything they need to grow and thrive.
A balanced, appealing quality of life; a well-connected, diverse business environment; a growing, multimodal transportation network; multiple technology, educational, and research resources; and robust Internet, satellite and cable communications make the city a top choice for businesses and for employees.
Consistently ranked among the top 10 places to live in the United States, metro Denver also has all the things businesses need to flourish, including a highly educated workforce, an affordable cost of doing business, and a multimodal transportation system designed for years of future growth.
The qualities that make metro Denver a great place to live also make it perfect for business. With its balanced lifestyle and natural appeal, recruitment has never been a problem for Denver employers. The cost of living is easier on the wallet than in many major cities. With its selection of distinctive neighborhoods, Denver offers residents a broad range of housing options, as well as advanced medical facilities, and a quality educational system.
The city’s location is also ideal for business. Nestled between the towering Rocky Mountains to the west and the vast high plains to the east, Denver’s strategic location almost in the center of the United States makes the area a natural crossroads for both domestic and international commerce.
A growing multimodal transportation network encourages global interconnectivity, beginning with Denver International Airport – the fifth-busiest airport in the U.S. and one of the most modern in the world. Metro Denver is constructing FasTracks, the largest one-time build out of a metro area mass transit system in U.S. history.
Data moves efficiently in metro Denver, too. As a national center for telecommunications, the area is home to giants in the satellite, subscription TV, and telephone industries—not to mention one satellite bounce away from virtually anywhere on earth.
Colorado’s robust statewide educational system includes a network of world-class research institutions, graduate and professional schools, and a wide spectrum of undergraduate programs that have spawned partnerships that have contributed to the area’s business community and have helped set the stage for future success.
For example, in 2007, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) joined forces to form the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory in 2007. The Collaboratory works with public agencies and nonprofits, private companies, and higher education institutions to forward renewable energy research and commercialize renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
The group launched its first research center spinoff for biofuels – called C2B2 – in 2007. A second spinoff, a major solar energy research center called CRSP, launched in 2008. And in 2009, the group celebrated both the opening of the Center for Research and Education in Wind (CREW), and the groundbreaking of the Solar Technology Acceleration Center’s (SolarTAC) broke large-scale solar power test and demonstration facility.
Colorado’s universities have also reaped benefits of considerable academic research funding – and that has also helped to fuel the city’s thriving business climate. For example, in 2009, the University of Colorado at Boulder received a record $339.7 million in sponsored research awards; the University of Colorado at Denver was awarded $22.8 million; and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus received $342.4 million. The University of Denver also benefited in 2009, with nearly $21 million in sponsored research grants, and the Colorado School of Mines received $51.4 million.
Denver has more than 500 large businesses – those with 250 or more workers – and the region’s largest employers represent a diverse cross-section of industries including aerospace, aviation, bioscience, financial services, and telecommunications.
The state is also good for growing businesses, and metro Denver reaps the benefits of that. In 2009, Colorado ranked sixth in the nation for research money obtained from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. That year, Colorado recipients secured 281 awards totaling $92.2 million in SBIR funds. Colorado ranked fourth in the nation for Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) funds with 33 awards totaling $12.8 million.
Technology and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of the state – and of Denver. Colorado ranks third in the nation for its concentration of high-tech jobs, according to the TechAmerica Foundation’s 2010 Cyberstates Report. And, the average wages for high technology workers in Colorado are 92 percent higher than the state’s overall private sector average.
The most recent edition of Toward a More Competitive Colorado from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., which benchmarks Colorado’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities for future job growth, also shows a positive outlook for the state’s future. The state’s top-10 rankings included college-level educational attainment, high-tech employment, venture capital and initial public offerings, and numerous measures of business costs and general economic strength.
In the end, there’s no doubt that Denver’s appealing quality of life, federal and city government support, strategic partnerships, smart workforce, and positive growth have all contributed to the city’s business success – and to its bright future.