Colorado’s Electronics Industry: The Emergence of a New Tech Hub

The Colorado electronics industry is rapidly expanding, with companies such as Keysight Technologies, Microchip Technology, Jabil, LSI, Siemens, Broadcom, Maxim Integrated, Analog Devices, VIAVI Solutions, Arrow Electronics, Eaton, ABB, Samtec, Semtech, National Instruments, Arrow, Emerson, Woodward, Jabil, Texas Instruments, Panasonic, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp, L3Harris, Ball Aerospace, Medtronic, GE, and Johnson Controls playing pivotal roles. As the state seeks to position itself as a regional tech hub, Colorado is actively pursuing access to grants made available through the Chips and Science Act.

To achieve this goal, Colorado government and industry agencies are collaborating to develop a strategy that will enable the state to tap into $500 million in grants. Economic development agencies, business leaders, and government representatives recently convened in Denver to discuss the potential designation as a “Regional Technology and Innovation Hub” by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The EDA is expected to open applications for this designation in spring or summer.

The Chips and Science Act, which passed last year, allocates funding across 20 designated hubs in the U.S. The program focuses on supporting advanced industries, such as aerospace, cybersecurity, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing, all of which rely heavily on research and development. To qualify, hubs must demonstrate a commitment to improving national security, workforce development, sustainability measures, and diversity and inclusion efforts. Additionally, at least one-third of the hubs must be located in rural areas or low-population states.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis believes the state is well-positioned to receive the designation, citing the existing “thriving ecosystem” that incorporates tech businesses and local clusters of advanced industries such as aerospace, energy, and telecom. Colorado has also made significant progress in providing more equitable business development resources and boasts a top-ranking workforce.

To maximize their chances of success, Colorado’s partners must not only capitalize on the state’s strengths but also strategically select industries or areas that other communities are not pursuing. Possible areas of focus include bioscience, aerospace, climate technologies, and quantum technology. As the application process requires a rural component, efforts such as training a workforce for up-and-coming technology could take place at institutions across the state.

Colorado’s manufacturing sector is particularly strong in areas such as spacecraft production, medical devices and implants, specialized energy products, and food products. The state is home to several key players in the aerospace industry, including Lockheed Martin Space, Sierra Space, and Ball Aerospace, as well as smaller space startups like Blue Canyon Technologies (now owned by Raytheon) and York Space Systems. Additionally, Colorado’s medical device and biotech manufacturing sectors often overlap with aerospace, utilizing precision component manufacturers in their supply chains.

As Colorado’s electronics industry continues to grow, the state’s pursuit of the “Regional Technology and Innovation Hub” designation has the potential to further solidify its position as a leading tech hub in the United States.