DENVER — Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 — Governor Jared Polis has announced the formation of a dedicated office within the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) to cultivate active investment in Colorado’s 126 federally designated Opportunity Zones.
“Colorado has earned national recognition for our thoughtful and inclusive approach designating Opportunity Zones, and we are committed to ensuring that we realize the maximum potential,” said Governor Jared Polis. “It’s vital that we continue to build on this momentum and collaborate with communities and investors to make these opportunities a reality to create good jobs.”
The new team will be led by recently named Opportunity Zone Program Director Jana Persky and charged with engaging stakeholders to facilitate active investment in designated Colorado tracts. The office will provide procedural guidance and technical knowledge to enable communities to secure much-needed investment and is funded through an Economic Development Commission allocation.
“I am encouraged and excited by the work already being done by local communities to ensure they present an attractive package to opportunity funds,” said OEDIT Executive Director Betsy Markey. “With the continued support of Governor Polis, our Opportunity Zones are positioning Colorado’s rural communities to be strong contenders for this new investment opportunity.”
The office is partnering with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to support communities in developing Opportunity Zone strategies, with the goal of attracting capital to projects that will have a positive community impact.
"DOLA has been working in partnership with local communities and leaders and OEDIT to identify where their designated areas can achieve its full potential," said DOLA Executive Director Rick Garcia. "Through the Opportunity Zone program, equitable distribution will be possible in some of our rural areas of the state which will provide them with the opportunity to continue along the path towards economic innovation throughout Colorado."
To help facilitate Opportunity Zone investments, the office will offer grants to support economic modeling, prospectus development, and other technical assistance needed to help community-oriented projects come to fruition.
OEDIT, in conjunction with Startup Colorado and the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, has also launched CO-Invest.co to connect investors and opportunities - including opportunity zones - to leverage the speed and reach of technology to further facilitate the investment opportunities.