making it one of the fastest growing in the
U.S. 182,320 employees work for more than
18,500 companies, a major benefit to the
region’s overall economic growth.
Information Technology-Software: Small
businesses dominate Colorado’s information technology software industry. A 2013
report by TechAmerica Foundation reported
Colorado had the nation’s sixth-largest
employment base in software publishing.
The state also ranked 10th in venture capital
investment in 2013, with $560 million in
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
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 Technology Transfer
Program (STTR) funds, with $108.8 million
from 416 awards. Clearly, Colorado is a
leader in encouraging entrepreneurialism,
beating the national average rate by more
than 30 percent.
In fact, Coloradans embrace entrepreneurship and technology in a variety of ways.
Denver’s location exactly midway between Tokyo and Frankfurt
makes it an ideal place for companies that work in international trade.
Multinational corporations benefit greatly from setting up headquarters
in this strategic location. International trade has helped the city’s business
and economic sectors take off. Local and state officials recognize
the benefit of international trade to the local economy, and support
businesses that work internationally from Denver in a number of different
Metro Denver businesses appreciate the easy access to international air
travel and satellite communications to destinations around the world,
including Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Denver International Airport
boasts 23 nonstop international flights, including a daily nonstop flight to
Tokyo. In addition, Denver has strong business relationships with Canada
and Mexico, which are both partners in the trilateral North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Colorado’s five biggest trading partners
in 2013 included Canada ($206 billion), Mexico ($917.8 million), China
($772 million), Japan ($442 million) and Korea ($340.6 million). In 2013,
Colorado’s overall exports totaled a record $8.7 billion.
Colorado’s top six exports in 2013 were computers and electronic
products ($518 million), fresh beef ($427.5 million), medical instruments
($417 million), orthopedic and hearing devices ($302.8 million), frozen
beef ($294.9 million) and civilian aircraft, engines and parts ($359 million).
International trade is strongly promoted in Colorado. The Colorado
Consular Corps includes 33 foreign consulates, including full-time offices
for Canada, Japan, Mexico, Peru and the United Kingdom. The consulates
provide trade, tourism, and cultural exchange information and services.
Encouragement for multinational corporations is high in the metro area.
Denver’s World Trade Center supports Denver’s international companies
and is part of a global network that spans 100 countries. The Denver
office provides trade-related education and training, market research,
connections to local members and other WTC offices and advocacy for
free trade through the legislature.
Another way that international trade is supported in Denver includes
two general purpose Foreign Trade Zones that allow manufacturers
to expedite customs and either reduce or eliminate fees and tariffs
on imported materials. Businesses that are high-volume, high-tariff
manufacturers can also establish their own Foreign Trade Subzones.
Finally, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International
Trade (OEDIT) gives grants that cover travel and other business expenses
for small businesses in Colorado that want to expand into international
markets. The U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit
Initiative gave $5.5 million to the OEDIT in June 2014. The office will invest
that money into Colorado’s small businesses. Multinational companies
can expect to be supported and to thrive in the Denver metro region.
T R A D E in DENVER