Jump-Start participants expected to bolster Grand Valley tech sector

Robin Brown

Robin Brown

Two software companies plan to launch Grand Junction operations as the latest participants in a program offering tax incentives for creating new jobs.

The Colorado Economic Development Council has approved Visual Globe and Dude Solutions for the Colorado Rural Jump-Start Program, the Grand Junction Economic Partnership announced.

Robin Brown, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, said the companies will add to a growing tech sector in Mesa County.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen a boom in technology companies,” Brown said. “A lot of our tech companies are smaller startups that are bringing a tremendous amount of innovation and energy that wasn’t here a few years ago. Couple that with the work force and innovation coming out of Colorado Mesa University, and we’re poised to be the next great tech center. It’s an exciting time for tech in Western Colorado.”

Based in Denver, Visual Globe provides interactive geospatial visualization software. The company plans to hire 16 employees at its Grand Junction office.

Dude Solutions provides operations management software. The company plans to hire 15 employees in Grand Junction and ramp up to a staff of 30 during its first year.

Michael Blakeman, chief executive officer and founder of Visual Globe, said his company’s software solves asset management problems. “There has never been a more perfect time to connect unconnected, disparate data with 3D visualization and analytics through physical asset management.”

The software also can be used to operate so-called smart buildings, smart refineries and smart cities, Blakeman said. Grand Junction could serve as a model for smart cities.

While Dude Solutions also operates offices in North Carolina and Washington as well as Canada, the expansion to Grand Junction will focus on the company’s energy management software.

“Our software impacts the most important places in our lives — from our children’s schools to the local hospital, manufacturing plants and more. And we are thrilled to join the tech community in Grand Junction,” said Ed Roshitsh, chief executive officer of Dude Solutions. “We look forward to adding a new legion of Dudes dedicated to expanding our reach in the energy management software space.”

Visual Globe and Dude Solutions are the 12th and 13th companies to be accepted into the Rural Jump-Start program in Mesa County, the first county in Colorado selected to join in the statewide program.

The Rural Jump-Start program creates zones in Colorado in which eligible businesses are exempted from paying state and local taxes. Qualifying businesses are exempt from paying state income, use and sales taxes as well as county and municipal personal property taxes. In Mesa County, local government jurisdictions have offered additional incentives.

To participate, the core functions of businesses may not compete with existing operations. Businesses must create a minimum of five net new jobs in the county in which they’re located and establish a relationship with an institution of higher education — Colorado Mesa University in Mesa County. Businesses are evaluated annually to ensure ongoing compliance. Businesses may receive tax exemptions for up to four years with an option for an additional four years.

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