Applicants sought for economic development initiatives

Meredith Marshall
Meredith Marshall

Applications will be accepted through June 1 for a program promoting economic development in rural areas of Colorado.

Initiatives will involve everything from brand building and tourism to film production and the outdoor recreation industry.

Grand Junction was among the communities selected to implement initiatives in 2017 under what’s billed as the Blueprint 2.0 program conducted by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

“Blueprint 2.0 engages communities in a participatory planning and engagement process that provides our rural areas with resources and tools to thrive,” said Meridith Marshall, senior regional economic development manager at the office. “We are excited to be helping communities address everything from coworking and branding to entrepreneurship through the lens of economic development.”

Launched in 2015, Blueprint 2.0 leverages state partnerships and specialized resources to address the economic development goals of rural areas of Colorado. The program turns regional feedback on local economic needs into statewide initiatives to advance the economies of rural communities. The original blueprint was developed as an economic development strategy for the state.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade will offer eight initiatives in 2018: brand building for communities, Colorado rural academy for tourism, grow your outdoor recreation industry, coworking, certified small business community, film and major production, creativity lab of Colorado, launch a sector partnership.

Communities interested in a Blueprint 2.0 initiative may apply online at choosecolorado.com/blueprint. Applicants will be asked to demonstrate collaboration, local leadership and support for the initiatives they chose to pursue.Applications are due June 1. Winning communities will be announced in July.

In 2017, 17 communities across the state benefited from Blueprint 2.0 initiatives. Past recipients have received technical assistance in developing tourism assets and strategic business growth action plans and even a tiny home master plan. Grand Junction and Grand Lake were selected for the creativity lab initiative.