Outdoor Industry Business Development

Program Summary

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office helps grow the outdoor industry by recruiting and retaining businesses in Colorado. The office also supports:

  • research
  • partnerships with educational institutions
  • global business development
  • foreign direct investment
  • export strategies

Outdoor recreation is vital to Colorado’s economy, and outdoor recreation companies and activities make up a large portion of the state’s total employment base. It is connected to other industries such as tourism, advanced manufacturing, energy, and information technology and software.

The office is working to:

  • recruit companies to all areas of Colorado through tax credits and incentive programs
  • participate in trade and investment missions that support outdoor recreation
  • prioritize outdoor recreation industry recruitment and engagement in Colorado’s international business development strategy
  • connect communities with technical resources to support the outdoor industry
  • grow the outdoor recreation industry in rural Colorado by connecting small businesses and startups with with resources and capital


Type: Trade shows, consulting, and technical assistance

For: Businesses and communities

Industry-specific: Outdoor recreation

OEDIT division: Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

Colorado Springs EPIIC Venture Attractor
The EPIIC Venture Attractor™ is a university-based research initiative of the El Pomar Institute of Innovation & Commercialization (EPIIC) at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). The EPIIC Venture Attractor™ is on a mission to drive regional economic development and strengthen the startup ecosystem in Colorado Springs. They focus on early stage startups in the sectors of sports and outdoors, health innovation, and human performance. 

COVENTURE is a non-profit organization committed to building economic resiliency in the Roaring Fork Valley through programming, mentorship, incubation and community coworking. They collaborate with organizations and individuals across Colorado to cultivate business solutions and develop a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Greater Colorado Venture Fund
The Greater Colorado Venture Fund (GVCF) invests in early-stage startups headquartered in Colorado outside of the front range urban corridor. The Fund is catalyzing the Startup Revolution 2.0, spreading entrepreneurship to create opportunity and build sustainable communities in rural America.

ICELab is a community organization in western Colorado that supports new and growing businesses with cowork space, affordable office space, professional development, and a diverse network of mentors, programs, and opportunities.

Startup Colorado
Startup Colorado is a rural outreach program within the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado Law School. Colorado’s rural entrepreneurs are building some of the most exciting business opportunities in the state. Startup Colorado supports these change agents via a free peer-to-peer Entrepreneur Network, scholarships, event programming, and collaboration with local business support organizations.

Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE) 
SCAPE’s mission is to help create more high growth, job-creating companies in the Four Corners by providing education, mentoring, and access to funding for startups and early-stage companies. SCAPE has launched 43 companies which have raised $27,000,000 in capital contributing to the creation of 200 local jobs. 

Techstars West Slope Startup Week
Techstars Startup Week West Slope is a free, multi-day, “choose your own adventure” meeting of the entrepreneurial minds and celebration of the #WestSlopeBestSlope way of doing business. Startup Weeks are packed with presentations, panels, workshops, social events, and more – all crafted by locals – gathering the community to learn from each other and celebrate their comradery.

Telluride Venture Network
The Telluride Venture Network is a nationally recognized, award-winning entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports new, innovative, and growing businesses. Rooted in the history of innovation for which Telluride is known, they offer plenty of options for entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and community members to get involved in our variety of resources to help the Southwest Colorado region thrive.

Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center
The Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center offers free, confidential business counseling for new and existing small businesses.  The YVEC was established in 1999 and has assisted hundreds of local businesses launch and stay viable through changing economic conditions. Several skilled business professionals donate their time to meet with individuals and discuss their goals and challenges. 

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) attends national and international industry events that promote Colorado brands in new markets and provide businesses with the resources they need to thrive. The office organizes and participates in events, panels, and workshops that highlight Colorado’s leadership in the outdoor recreation industry.

Outside Festival and The Summit
The OREC office is excited to launch the Outside Festival in partnership with Outside Interactive Inc. and Visit Denver. There is no better place to reimagine outdoor industry events than in Colorado. The outdoors is the lifeblood industry of the state of Colorado. Outdoor recreation contributes more than $62 billion to our state’s economy and supports over 500,000 jobs, or 18% of our workforce and it’s integral to our brand, identity and quality of life as a state. For the first time, the Outside Festival will bring together industry professionals and thought leaders with the general public to showcase Colorado’s unparalleled outdoor recreation industry and our commitment to making it accessible to everyone.

The new Outside Festival has a range of goals besides showcasing the state as one of the beating hearts of the outdoor industry and the best place to come to recreate in a sustainable, responsible fashion, to start a business, start a career and get an education in the outdoors. The event aims to get people outside, get more kids outside, and focus on equity and equitable access to the outdoors.

The Big Gear Show
The Big Gear Show reinvents the outdoor industry show experience by combining three great events that fuse hot market segments with a powerful community-wide festival that celebrates discovery and the adventurous spirit. The Big Gear Show brings to life the broader and more inclusive outdoors, delivering human-to-human interaction and a positive setting for those wanting to engage the industry, the products and the people behind them.

Colorado outdoor industry businesses have access to several technical and financial resources from across OEDIT. Some of the most accessed resources are included below. If your business has a specific request, please contact our office for assistance.

Global Consultant Network
The Global Consultant Network helps Colorado-based small businesses expand into other countries. Consulting services typically last between three and eight months.

Small Business Development Network
The Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network helps small businesses achieve their goals by providing free, confidential consulting, and low or no-cost training programs across the state.

State Trade and Expansion Program
The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant helps small businesses expand internationally by funding international business development activities. The purpose of this grant is to offset the cost of expanding internationally for small businesses.

Strategic Fund Job Growth Incentive
The Strategic Fund Job Growth Incentive is for business expansion or relocation projects for which Colorado is in competition with at least one other state and the company has received a commitment of local government funding that matches any requested state government incentives. The incentive provides a cash payment over five years to companies that create and maintain new permanent jobs in Colorado.

Rural Jump-Start Program
The Rural Jump-Start Program is a collaborative effort by the state, local governments, Institutes of Higher Education (IHE), and economic development organizations (EDO) to incentivize new businesses to start in or move to rural, economically distressed counties in Colorado, which are referred to as Rural Jump-Start zones, and hire new employees. 

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