Large companies are also important to
the metro area’s economy. More than
500 large businesses—those with 250 or
more workers—operate in Denver. The
area’s biggest employers include a diverse
cross-section of industries including aerospace, aviation, bioscience, financial services,
healthcare and telecommunications.
Many major employers call Denver their
home, giving the region a good geographic
balance of employment centers. In fact,
in 2014, two metro Denver companies—
DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. and
Chipotle Mexican Grill—were named to
Fortune magazine’s list of The World’s Most
The state of Colorado is also fertile ground
for growing businesses, and the metro Denver
area benefits substantially. Colorado ranked
sixth in the country for research money won
from the Small Business Innovation Research
(SBIR) program in 2013. Colorado awardees
received 891 grants worth $301 million in
SBIR funds that year. The state also ranked
fifth in the U.S. for Small Business Tech-
nology Transfer Program (STTR) funds, with
$108.8 million from 416 awards. Clearly,
Colorado is a leader in encouraging entrepre-
neurialism, beating the national average rate
by more than 30 percent.
In fact, Coloradans embrace entrepreneurship and technology in a variety of ways.
High-tech workers in Colorado tend to
make wages that are 96 percent higher than
the state’s overall private sector average.
And Colorado ranks third in the U.S. for its
concentration of high-tech jobs and fifth in
the U.S. for entrepreneurialism, according
to the 2014 Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurial Index. One example of this
entrepreneurial spirit is the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN), which promotes
collaboration between public, private, and
academic institutions statewide. COIN leads
and encourages partnerships on a variety of
programs and initiatives.
The Rocky Mountain state is increasingly
known for its knowledge and technology
industries. The state ranks fourth in the
nation for its ability to support these economies, as found by the Milken Institute’s
2012 State Technology and Science Index.
The index analyzed 77 indicators in five
categories, including education, the science
and engineering workforce, research and
development, high-tech employment concen-
tration and entrepreneurial environment.
Like many cities across the country, Denver’s
economy fell into recession in late 2008.
However, the region’s unemployment
remained considerably below the national
average even during that rough period. That
resilience is good news for employees and
businesses. And ever better news—all of the
jobs lost in the recession had come back by
the middle of 2013. Colorado is now one
of the top states for employment growth.
Between March and April 2014, Colorado
added 13,900 new jobs and had an unemployment rate lower than the national average.
Denver’s economic future looks bright. Colorado continues to beat out other states in
levels of college-educated workers, venture
capital investments, employment in the high-tech industry, and many other measures of
Without a doubt, Denver’s economy has
a promising future. The balanced quality
of life, government support, low business
costs, skilled workforce, and consistent
growth all prove that Denver is a good
place to do business.
Blue Bear at Colorado Convention Center.
Photo courtesy of VISIT DENVER