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Tech startup approved for rural Colorado tax incentive

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 8:19 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -The Economic Development Commission approved Hayden Data for the Rural Jump-Start Program.

“We are very pleased with the local support from GJEP and the approval of our Jump-Start application. This encouraging support will help Hayden Data to grow our presence in Grand Junction and to contribute our share to the economic development of the region,” said Hayden Data’s CEO, Steve Whitehurst.

Hayden Data has created a patent-pending technology to monitor structural, environmental and operational conditions of infrastructure equipment including utility poles, oil and gas assets and telecommunication towers. The technology helps identify fires and other issues before they become catastrophic events.

“Particularly rural Colorado, characterized by wildfire risk and remoteness will greatly benefit from seeing the deployment of our technology across transmission and distribution infrastructure in the region,” said Florian Gegier, Director of Sales and Business Development at Hayden Data. “Making the power grid and communities safer and more resilient is our mission, after all.”

Hayden Data’s main U.S. operation is in Grand Junction and plans to expand with a demo facility in the city. It has also partnered with local manufacturer Acom Unlimited to produce the sensor boxes that house the technology.

Acom Unlimited was approved for the Jump-Start tax credit program earlier this year. Combined, Hayden Data and Acom Unlimited are expected to add approximately 60 jobs to the local economy in engineering, machining, robotics, drafting and accounting. The expected total economic impact is $19 million over their first two years.

Hayden Data is the 20th company to be approved for the Jump-Start program in Mesa County and the third this year. Acom and Eco Super Structures, a green build company, were both approved for the program in March. Of the 20 companies approved, 15 remain in operation.

“Jump-Start has been a huge success in Mesa County,” said Steve Jozefczyk, Deputy Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. “Considering almost all of these businesses are startups, and 9 out of 10 startups fail, a 75% success rate is phenomenal. The program has had a significant impact on the diversification of our economy and the growth of high-income, innovative industry sectors.”

The idea for the Jump-Start program originated in Mesa County. It officially launched through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade in 2015-16 with seven startups, all based in the county.

Through the program, companies receive 100% tax credit on income and sales tax for four years, with a opportunity to extend for another four years. The Grand Junction-based company ProStar was the first to successfully complete the first four years of the program and be extended for a second round. Participants are also eligible for special cash grants.

In exchange, the businesses add a minimum of three new jobs to the county in high-paying, highly skilled fields. Businesses also form a partnership with Colorado Mesa University through mentorship, internship opportunities and community involvement.

“CMU is proud to have helped launch the Rural Jump-Start Program, collaborate with the businesses who have joined, and provide ongoing support,” said Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster. “Our efforts to grow the human capital needed by businesses, connect that talent pipeline with workforce needs, and support companies further through engagement with our Maverick Innovation Center is truly a win-win-win for everyone.”

Last year, the Jump-Start criteria was modified to make it easier for companies to be approved and succeed within the program. Last week, the Colorado Senate approved a bill to extend the program adding an additional $3 million in special state grants over the next two years to help participants establish operations.

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