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New Innovation Center Coming to Olathe with Grant Funding from USDA Rural Development

Amy Mund
Release Date
Feb 14, 2022

Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning, Inc., will utilize a $1.7 million Grant to assist Delta and Montrose Counties

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) Colorado State Director Armando Valdez announced a $1,716,600 Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant to Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning Inc., to support an innovation center that will focus on the value-added agriculture manufacturing cluster with a sub focus on food and beverage businesses.

The RISE program provides funding to create and augment high-wage jobs, accelerate the formation of new businesses, support industry clusters and maximize the use of local productive assets in eligible low-income rural areas.

The new center will be in Olathe, Colorado and will focus on sole proprietor, startup businesses and those with growth potential to hire more staff and expand. Targeted businesses include food producers/packagers, caterers, food-trucks, and other food related businesses.

“Strengthening rural economies is at the forefront of the Biden-Harris Administration agenda. For some time, rural America has been at the mercy of an extraction economy, where resources are taken from rural areas only to create jobs and economic opportunity in urban and suburban areas. Building strong rural economies is a foundation principle for future community success. USDA-Rural Development offers funding to support innovative approaches which promote resource development within rural communities. This funding is intended to open the door to new economic opportunities in Delta and Montrose and to help entrepreneurs “grow their own” and offer economic pathways which appeal to people remaining in these areas,” said Valdez.

For more information about business programs like the RISE grant, consult the new USDA rural entrepreneur resource guide which includes programs to assist rural entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen America’s economy. The guide features information on how rural entrepreneurs can use USDA and other Federal programs to access financing and other assistance to help start and expand their businesses.

Once improvements are completed at the building in Olathe, there will be a commercial kitchen available for rent to cottage industries and food-based businesses.  A business hub where businesses can rent space at a scale-up rate and participate in incubator and accelerator programming to grow their business. Businesses and startups will also be offered incubator like services to support their formation and growth.

The project is community driven and includes several partners, including: the Town of Olathe, Montrose and Delta Counties, Making Olathe Better (MOB), Technical College of the Rockies (TCR), Colorado State University (CSU), Valley Food Partnership (VFP), Conexion Coworking Space, Olathe Business Hub and the Montrose County Housing Authority (MCHA).

USDA is currently accepting applications for the RISE Grant program. Applications are due April 19, 2022.  Find more program information at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/business-programs/rural-innovation-stronger-economy-rise-grants.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information in Colorado, visit www.rd.usda.gov/co.