Rural Opportunity Office
The Rural Opportunity Office (ROO) supports Colorado’s rural communities, economic development offices, business support organizations, and small businesses by connecting them to relevant OEDIT and State Partner programs to work toward a resilient future. The office consists of a director, program manager, data analyst, and three rural opportunity representatives that directly serve Colorado's eastern, western, and southern regions. Each representative lives within the region of the state that they support.
The ROO is responsible for:
- Working in partnership with other OEDIT divisions and State Partners to coordinate rural resources
- Overseeing and executing the Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP)
- Maintaining the Rural Data Dashboard and supporting key data projects relevant to rural Colorado
- Strategic partnerships with Manufacturer’s Edge, Startup Colorado, the Economic Development Council of Colorado, and Energize Colorado
- Supporting the Regional Resiliency and Recovery Roadmaps grant program, funded by the Economic Development Administration (EDA)
- Overseeing the development of an EDA-funded Statewide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS)
Rural Programs and Funding
Rural Technical Assistance Program
This program provides free fundamental educational programs to all rural communities as well as competitive opportunities for mentored project development and strategic implementation.
Rural Data Dashboard
The dashboard is available to all rural communities for current economic data at the county level. Our data analyst also holds biweekly office hours for custom questions.
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
The Statewide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) will update Colorado’s economic development strategy, facilitate future applications to federal programs, and specifically address strategies for key industries, as well as disproportionately impacted groups like small and rural businesses, coal transition communities, Tribal Nations and underserved communities.
Existing Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies Implementation Grant
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) reflect a region’s commitment to a capacity-building plan designed to foster regional economic prosperity.
Specialized programs, funding, and network support through nonprofit ecosystem partners like Manufacturer's Edge, Startup Colorado, the Economic Development Council of Colorado, Energize Colorado, and others.
Connections to and navigating support for OEDIT programs like Rural Jump-Start, Enterprise Zones, Just Transition Funding, and industry-specific opportunities.
Colorado Rural Resiliency and Recovery Roadmaps
This program provides technical assistance and implementation support to selected regional teams of rural communities to drive economic relief, recovery, diversification, and long-term resilience.
Rural Opportunity Representative County List
|Name of Rural Opportunity Representative||Colorado Geographical Designation||Colorado Counties|
|Eastern Plains Rural Opportunity Representative||Adams, Arapahoe, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Crowley, Elbert, Gilpin, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Otero, Phillips, Prowers, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld, and Yuma|
|Wendy Stewart-Martinez||Southern Colorado Rural Opportunity Representative||Alamosa, Archuleta, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Dolores, El Paso, Fremont, Huerfano, La Plata, Lake, Las Animas, Mineral, Montezuma, Park, Pueblo, Rio Grande, Saguache, San Juan and Teller|
|Keely Ellis||Western Colorado Rural Opportunity Representative||Delta, Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, San Miguel, and Summit|
Talk to Your Rural Representative
We have 3 rural representatives who live in the regions that they represent. They work closely with economic development offices in their regions to understand and support the differing needs of each area.