Springs Rep. Pete Lee introduces economic development bill

Wed, Feb 23, 2011


Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, sponsored the only bill to be introduced in the Colo. General Assembly yesterday.

According to Lee’s website, HB11-1266 would “encourage investment in Colorado’s small businesses by creating an enterprise connecting investors to businesses.”

The bill seeks to accomplish this by creating an authority to engage in research and development, education, promotion, and advocacy activities relative to small business capital. The authority is directed to raise $50 million annually for a state fund for expenses and seed capital for small businesses.

The bill has been assigned to the Economic and Business Development Committee.

Check out a quick-hit summary of the bill here.

The full text can be found here.


4 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Hughes Says:

    Great that Pete Lee, a Democrat, is taking the initiative to stimulate the economy by concentrating on Small Businesses.

    I don’t see any other initiatives coming out of the Colorado Legislature

  2. Lynn Liggett Says:

    I believe the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is already doing this very thing and what better way to spend our tax dollars than on a project already initiated. There was an article about this venture either in the Business Journal or the UCCS website in the recent past. I have contacted UCCS and will provide the Professor’s name. Also, why aren’t we using the agencies already in place such as the EDC or the REDC to do this work?

  3. Mike Schmidt Says:

    Just so you know, it’s not whether or not it is Democrats or Republicans that are behind this new Economic Development Bill, (it’s actually a collection of small business entrepreneurs with many strips and colors). It’s just that Representative Pete Lee, “Gets it”. He understands that it’s not government handouts that is going to restore America to its former economic self… its small businesses and Entrepreneurs. Actually this bill is the result of an initiative that was put together by CIO Colorado over the last 3 months. CIO Colorado is a collection of small business people in Denver and Colorado Springs that have come together to create an Economic Development Reform movement at the Grass roots level. You can learn more about CIO Colorado at: There is a complete summary of the bill at this site, as well as information on all the other economic development reform activities we are pursuing. I am one of the founding Council Members. I’m also the Chair of the local Colorado Springs Entrepreneurs Group here locally in the Springs, (http://www.colospgsbiz.or). We have 340+ members and we are DEFINITELY supporting this innovative bill. I’m right here in your backyard and if you have any other questions about the bill or our Grass Roots Economic Development Reform movement at CIO Colorado, feel free to get in touch with me.

  4. Mike Schmidt Says:

    A quick update for you on the UCCS activity you mentioned above in your comments. The UCCS program you were trying to recall is NOT a state-wide fund of $50M, or a capital exchange, or the development of fund operators with a reform of private placement agents which is the basis for the new Bill discussed in the article. The initiative you identified is a new type of Venture Fund that was proposed and is being pursued by Professor Thomas Duening who is the El Pomar Chair for Business and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at UCCS. What Professor Duening is developing is the creation of a unique type of “Venture Fund” that would be aligned with the University and its Foundation, have private investor capital, but be able to make VC-like investments in stand alone local companies or in UCCS spin-out companies that might be student led, or aligned with local companies that have University support) up to $250,000 each in 20-30 local companies annually. Many of these firms if not already located in the Springs would agree to move here. How do I know this ? Because I’m serving as an Advisory Board member on Professor Duening’s Center for Entrepreneurship Board. I support what Professor Duening is pursuing because he is focusing on the LOHAS, (Lifestyle of Healthcare and Sustainability) markets, health and wellness, sports medicine, etc.. that all leverage current UCCS sports management programs, our local Sports Corp, the USOC, etc. This is a targeted and “focused” fund. For more info on this you can reference a Gazette article from Sept 2010: Other “Targeted and Focused” funds are being considered in the Springs for Alternate Energy, Healthcare IT, Broadband, Wireless, Software/SaaS/Cloud Computing, and even Cyber Security and Homeland Defense, (That the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator and the Colorado Homeland Defense Alliance can rally around as a focus), but they are being pursued by a wide variety of private companies. It’s not that the Regional Economic Development agencies are not doing anything, it’s just that they are not equipped or staffed to manage seed stage and entrepreneurial-type companies and opportunities, and they can’t be tasked to “solve all the start-up company” challenges we have. Their mandates are to drive larger companies to the region to help build job counts and opportunities for larger employers and set the tone and tenor for creating a “pro-business” climate here in the Springs. It’s really time to consider a wide variety of grass roots solutions and this will come from multiple companies competing for investment funds and applying them in targeted verticals. If you would like to learn more about some of these “Cluster Commerce” Business Development initiatives you can contact me at the Colorado Springs Entrepreneurs Group: ( (This is the correct web-address from an earlier post I made). – Mike Schmidt