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.

Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator
The Moosejaw Outdoor Accelerator helps founders from diverse backgrounds realize their dreams of growing a successful outdoor company. The program more than doubled the applicant pool from the first year to the second with well over 100 applications for the 2021 program. Applications for the 2022 accelerator program are open through February 3rd, 2022.

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 trade shows that promote Colorado brands in new markets. The office organizes and participates in events, panels, and workshops that highlight Colorado’s leadership in the outdoor recreation industry.

Outdoor Retailer
The Outdoor Retailer trade show moved to Denver in January 2018. Denver hosts two shows annually – the Outdoor + Snow Show in January and the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in June/July. OREC participates in show events and supports Colorado outdoor businesses at both shows.

ISPO Munich
The State of Colorado curates a group of emerging Colorado outdoor recreation brands to exhibit in a shared booth space with the intent to aid the advancement of these brands within the international marketplace. The focus of this booth is twofold: to relieve some of the financial pressures that are associated with attending an international trade show; and to promote the State of Colorado as a beacon of the outdoor recreation industry. Final costs for participation are based on the final booth design, with every effort being made to keep costs minimal while also delivering an effective Colorado-themed environment.

Trade and investment missions promote foreign investment into Colorado and help Colorado companies become more globally competitive. The OREC office works with the Global Business Development (GBD) team at OEDIT to organize trade and investment missions for outdoor recreation companies to strategic markets around the world. During these missions Colorado firms, organizations, and government agencies connect with foreign business communities, economic decision-makers, and senior government officials. 

Trade missions help Colorado companies explore trade and investment opportunities in foreign markets. Investment missions promote foreign direct investment into Colorado. Combined trade and investment missions are typically led by the Governor or other senior state leadership.

In 2021, in partnership with OEDIT’s Global Business Development Office, OREC offered two virtual export missions. These virtual missions were part of a new series providing companies opportunities to connect, expand and explore international exports without traveling.

Germany Virtual Export Trade Mission
March 2021

The Germany virtual trade mission focused on introducing Colorado outdoor recreation products and services, including food and beverage products, to the German market.

During the first two weeks of March, Colorado companies participated in a series of webinars, learning best practices and how to operate in the German market, led by AHP International and including topics such as German culture and business, as well as networking events with industry leaders. The webinars were followed by two weeks of 1:1 preset meetings between Colorado businesses and potential German business partners.  

Canada Virtual Export Trade Mission
June to August 2021


The Canada virtual trade mission focused on introducing Colorado outdoor recreation products and services, including food and beverage products, to the Canadian market. 

In Canada, 7 of every 10 Canadians engage in outdoor recreation activities and the sporting goods retail market is estimated to be $5.4 billion. During the pandemic, the popularity of outdoor activities increased, making it a great location for Colorado outdoor companies to expand their products.

Participating companies received one-on-one consultations with Canadian consulting firm CIDEP to research the market specifically for their product as well as matchmaking with interested Canadian companies. Companies were briefed on the outdoor recreation market in Canada, the largest buyers and key players, and the best strategies to get their product into the market.

If you are interested in export support, please contact Sophia Gonzalez-Mayagoitia, International Export Grant Manager, for more information. 

Upcoming Trade and Investment Missions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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