Colorado has parlayed its reputation for a great living environment into a huge leap upward in the 2018 Chief Executive “Best States / Worst States for Business” ranking, jumping to No. 8 from a spot averaging around the mid-teens for the five previous years.
The Rocky Mountain State’s rise also is being fueled by its being able to offer companies a young, educated labor force and an energetic population of startups involved in everything from energy technologies and cybersecurity software, to better-for-you foods and beverages.
It also helps that Colorado keeps getting an influx of population from Californians who are tired of the cost of living on the West Coast, but want a mountain version of the relaxed vibe they’re used to.
“We’ve got one of the best high-tech workforces in the country. And that’s essential if you’re going to be a high-tech entrepreneur.” – vance brown, cherwell software
Vance Brown is typical of CEOs who have been attracted by that sort of combination. He moved his cybersecurity company, Cherwell Software, to Colorado Springs, Colo., from North Carolina’s Research Triangle.
“We’ve got one of the best high-tech workforces in the country,” he said. “And that’s essential if you’re going to be a high-tech entrepreneur.”
One reason, Brown told Chief Executive, is that “you can live here for a much lower cost of living” than in Silicon Valley “and afford it. But if you like urban and big-city offerings, Denver is just 45 minutes away.”
Brown also appreciates that state legislators have been willing to translate their “progressive thinking” into laws such as marijuana legalization – “it provides a great tax base” – and a bill under consideration that encourages Colorado government to consider using blockchain for state records. “Colorado,” he said, “is not afraid to lead the way.”
The complete listing for the Best and Worst States for Business can be found here.