The Advanced Industries Early-Stage Capital and Retention Grant helps Colorado-based advanced industries technology businesses develop and commercialize advanced technologies that will be created or manufactured in Colorado. Projects can receive up to $250,000. This grant award maximum can be lifted for projects that impact more than one advanced industry.
The market typically under-invests in early-stage technologies. The grant’s goal is to fill the gap left by the market. The grant is not meant to compete with existing funding.
The Global Business Development (GBD) division administers this grant in partnership with Colorado’s advanced industry trade associations and receives final approval from the Economic Development Commission.
A project or technology with a particular application may receive grant awards up to $250,000 unless the award cap is lifted. The award cap may be lifted for projects that impact more than one advanced industry. The advanced industries selected must correspond to the core technology of the project. Applicants should select no more than a primary industry and secondary industry. To receive the full requested amount, all industries selected must support the application.
If advanced manufacturing, electronics, or information technology (enabling industries) are among the identified industries, the application must directly address how the enabling technology will impact the scalability, process improvement, or market adoption of the commercial product for the non-enabling technology. To receive the full requested amount, all industries selected must support the application.
- create a disruptive technology that directly impacts at least one Colorado advanced industry that is either created or manufactured in Colorado
- be registered with the Colorado Secretary of State and in Good Standing
- have headquarters in Colorado or have at least 50% of your employees based in Colorado
- provide matching $2-to-$1 non-State funding to State funding
- have received fewer than $20 million from grants and third-party investors since inception
- have annual revenues of fewer than $10 million
- show that the technology is viable through the proof of concept phase through proof of principle study (for example, own valid IP and trade secrets, have a completed prototype, have technical validation, have a commercialization plan that includes a market assessment confirming market need/opportunity, have initial start-up activities)
We will prioritize projects that:
- have a significant influence on multiple advanced industries
- develop technology licensed from a research institution in Colorado
- participated in an entrepreneurship program
- engaged with incubator or accelerator program
- were referred by a venture capital or angel investor group that decided the technology has commercial potential but is too early for the group’s investment criteria
A disruptive technology is defined as a significant departure from the currently available technology in the industry. The use of an industry’s currently available technology does not constitute a significant impact. For example, the use of currently available electronics components does not constitute an impact on the electronics industry.
The technology must impact at least one of these advanced industries:
- advanced manufacturing
- energy and natural resources (including cleantech)
- infrastructure engineering
- technology and information
You need to have dedicated money from the associated research institution that is at least two times the requested grant amount at the time of grant execution. For example, if you request a grant of $250,000, you need to identify $500,000 in cash from other sources.
Dedicated money is cash in an account held by the grantee or formally committed by a third party investor or granting organization; funds are traceable and committed to the execution of the project work. Dedicated funds are necessary at the time of grant execution.
In-kind contributions do not satisfy matching requirements. Matching funds cannot be OEDIT funding or other state funding, neither directly received, nor received through a third party.
Though dedicated funds are required to execute a grant, an otherwise eligible business may apply to the program without dedicated matching funds. A conditional grant award may be given to an applicant without dedicated matching funds. Should you receive a conditional award, you will have to obtain the required dedicated match within six months of the award notice. If the required dedicated match is not raised within the six-month period, the award is forfeited.
Applications are open twice a year from January to March and July to September. Applications are open and the deadline to apply is September 1, 2021.
Apply online in the OEDIT application portal. Log in to your account or create a new account. To protect your personal information, we manually add new users to the portal, so it may take several days to activate your account.
The application process for the grant is:
- Pre-Qualification Questionnaire: Complete this questionnaire in the OEDIT application portal.
- After you answer the four screening questions in the questionnaire, you will receive an automated email informing you that your screening answers were submitted and are pending review.
- Your responses will be reviewed for compliance by an automated system. This review should be completed the same business day following your submission of the pre-qualification questionnaire.
- If you are in compliance, you will receive a second automated email telling you that your pre-screen was approved and then you can then log back into the application portal to complete your full application.
- Application: The intent of the application is to provide enough information to a group of reviewers so that they can sufficiently evaluate the commercialization potential of a technology and the value of the proposed project in advancing the technology toward commercialization.
The application includes the following sections. Some sections are scored, while other sections provide important background information that will help evaluators understand your application. Draft your application with the assumption that the reviewers have an undergraduate/master’s level education in both business and the relevant scientific discipline.
These sections are not scored:
- Executive Summary: This is a single-question section requesting a single-page high-level overview of your technology and this project.
- Company Name and Contact Info: This section consists of identifying information about the applicant.
- Project Summary and Grant Amount: This section identifies the advanced industry sector, checks for eligibility, identifies the technology’s stage of commercialization and milestones to be accomplished through the grant work.
- Upload documents that verify the commitment of matching funds. Documents may be a commitment letter, or an award letter that may proceed funds being deposited in the applicant’s accounts.
- If matching funds have not been secured, you must provide the expected timeline. In composing the project timeline, customize the Early-Stage Capital and Retention Grant Milestone Template (XLS) to reflect the specifics of the proposal.
- Documentation: This section is not scored but it is used to determine the scores in other sections.
- Required documentation includes CVs or resumes for key project personnel and business financials.
- Optional documentation includes support letters or recommendations from a business advisor, industry partner, customers, or other relevant stakeholders, and any other files that should be considered in the evaluation.
- Compliance: The primary purpose of this section is to establish eligibility for the grant program and the amount requested. This section is not scored, but insufficient answers can cause the application to be rejected.
These sections are scored and have variable weights:
- Stakeholder Collaboration: This section determines the statutory application selection preferences. OEDIT will review and confirm accuracy. OEDIT may modify the applicants’ answer for scoring purposes if the answer is not accurate. This section is scored and has a section weight of 5 points.
- Product and Technology: This section identifies the technological merits of the technology, the problem being solved, the research plan and methodology, and the intellectual property. This section is scored and has a section weight of 30 points.
- Business Strategy and Financials: This section outlines the applicant’s business history, current operations, commercialization path, competition, ability to scale, and project budget. This section is scored and has a section weight of 20 points. You will need to upload:
- a customized Early-Stage Capital and Retention Grant Budget Template (XLS) to reflect the specifics of your proposal (total indirect costs associated with the grant funding cannot exceed 8% of the total direct costs)
- business plans, pitch decks or other materials that have already been created to promote your business
- Company Management: This section outlines the members of the management and advisory teams, and their respective roles and experience. This section is scored and has a section weight of 25 points.
- Benefits to Colorado: This section determines the expected benefits for the State should the project be funded. This section is scored and has a section weight of 20 points. You will need to provide:
- estimate of full-time equivalents (FTE) retained
- estimate of FTEs to be created
- estimate of the value of new capital investment
- estimate of the value of retained capital investment
- explain how this technology will accelerate the product commercialization or economic growth of the advanced industries
If you were previously awarded funding less than $250,000, you are able to reapply for the remaining funds up to the maximum amount. You will need to:
- have successfully completed the milestones for your previous award
- still meet program eligibility
- are now pursuing later milestones to continue the project
The review process typically takes 10 to 12 weeks. The Advanced Industries Grant staff will communicate all relevant dates to applicants after the application deadline. People reviewing your application have an undergraduate or Master’s-level education or equivalent experience and are familiar with Colorado’s advanced industries.
Applications are reviewed in a multi-stage process:
- Internal Compliance Review: Applications are first vetted through an internal compliance review to ensure eligibility and all required materials have been submitted. Incomplete applications may be rejected.
- Independent Review: Reviewers independently evaluate the applications submitted using a structured scoring system.
- Industry Subcommittee Review Meetings: Industry review subcommittees meet for a half-day meeting to discuss the industry’s application evaluations and select up to four of the most competitive applications to advance to the full committee meeting.
- Applicants selected to pitch during the Full Committee Meeting are required to attend a pitch training session organized by OEDIT.
- Dependent on the availability of funds, a number of applicants may be selected to be fast-tracked. Applicants that are fast-tracked do not pitch at the Full Committee Meeting. Applicants selected for this opportunity must be the most competitive, as determined by the Independent Review and Industry Subcommittee Review Meetings.
- Full Committee Meeting: Reviewers attend a full-day pitch event to evaluate the pitch presentations of the applicants selected to advance during the Industry Subcommittee Review Meetings. Contact participating research institutions directly for the process of the internal application format.
- Economic Development Commission Meeting: Applications recommended for funding will be presented to the Colorado Economic Development Commission for final approval.
Scored sections are evaluated on a 0 to 5 scale.
- 5 – Excellent: The applicant has included all of the required information and has made a very convincing argument in support of the criterion being scored.
- 4 – Above Average: The applicant has included all of the required information and has made a reasonable argument in support of the criterion being scored.
- 3 – Good: The applicant has included most of the required information and has made a fair argument in support of the criterion being scored.
- 2 – Fair: The applicant has included most of the required information but has not made a fair argument in support of the criterion being scored.
- 1 – Poor: The applicant has not included enough of the required information to make a fair argument in support of the criterion being scored.
- 0 – Nothing Provided: The applicant neglected to include any relevant information.
Rejected applications may be re-worked and resubmitted in the next grant cycle. There is no appeals process, but applicants can request feedback as directed in the decline notice.
Once an application is approved, applicants must execute a formal grant agreement with OEDIT prior to obligating or spending any grant funds. Project milestones and budgets will be defined in the agreement. Unused funds must be returned to OEDIT and the program fund.
Conditions of funding
Review the Colorado Special Provisions. The expenditure of both grant and matching funds must comply with the approved project budget. Once you have been notified of an award, you may begin spending matching funds. Grant funds may not be spent until a grant agreement has been executed, meaning it has received final signature by the State Controller or designee.
The intent of this grant program is to provide support to businesses that will actively pursue commercial development and manufacture of the product or technology within Colorado. In the event that a company supported by an Early-Stage Capital and Retention Grant award relocates or moves outside of the state (and therefore no longer meets the original grant eligibility criteria listed below) within 24 months of the conclusion of a grant, the company shall be obligated to reimburse the Advanced Industries Grant Program for the full amount of the award, over a payback period of no more than 60 months. Such reimbursements shall be made to OEDIT and will be used to support future advanced industries programs and activities. For purposes of the foregoing, a company will be deemed to have moved its operations out of Colorado if:
- the company does not have a headquarters in Colorado
- less than 50% of its employees reside in Colorado
In applying for this grant, you are providing information to the State of Colorado. As the submitter, you have an obligation to carefully review all information provided to ensure it is accurate to the best of your knowledge and it does not contain any omissions, misrepresentations or factual errors. The reviewers of this application reserve the right to validate or check any information provided by the applicant, and if errors, omissions or misrepresentations are found, to modify the responses to correct for these deficiencies in evaluating the application and/or cancel any grant awards based on such deficiencies. Deliberately providing factual errors, omissions or misleading information to the State of Colorado as part of this application may be subject to penalties and sanctions as allowable by law.