Although acknowledging that Covid-19 as it has related to
Colorado was a downer, Patrick Meyers says that even so,
the pandemic prompted his agency to better focus on small
“We had to both decrease and then later increase our
budget and programming,” notes Meyers, the executive
director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development
& International Trade.
That varied response came as OEDIT tried to get a feel for
what early on was anticipated to be a decease in State of
But as things worked out, recalls Meyers, state revenue
proved more resilient than anyone in the spring of 2020
could have imagined, buttressed in part by the “unplanned
availability of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal
Throughout the year, OEDIT spearheaded any number of
business emergency relief programs, including an effort
offering technical assistance to businesses trying to obtain
crucial Paycheck Protection Program loans.
The department also, notes Meyers, provided funding to
“small and underserved businesses in partnership with
philanthropic organizations via grants, loans, and liquidity
Continues Meyers: “We focused on hard hit sectors in
particular, like creative organizations, artists, tourism-
related businesses, rural movie theaters and restaurants.”
“We also collaborated with the state treasurer, private
sector lenders and private philanthropic actors to create
the CLIMBER Fund, which supports small and mid-sized
businesses across Colorado that were financially strong
pre-Covid,” says Meyers.
Also known as Colorado Loans to Increase Mainstreet
Business Economic Recovery, the CLIMBER Fund has made
available up to $250 million in working capital loans
specifically for Colorado small businesses hit hard by the
Last year was a year with many complex issues confronting
Americans and Coloradoans all at the same time: Meyers notes
that his office “Added a substantial focus on equity and
underserved businesses as some of the long-standing economic
barriers that impact historically socially and economically
disadvantaged communities came even more into focus.”
One of the most durable public/private outreach efforts in
Colorado, the OEDIT program is also unique among state
economic development agencies in the country for its emphasis
on establishing relations with foreign countries, thus the
“International Trade” part of the department’s title.
That emphasis, notes Meyers, plays out in several ways:
“Through our Global Business Development division, we work to
elevate the profile of Colorado’s economy, workforce, and
products on a global stage.”
“For example,” Meyers explains, “we promote foreign investment
into Colorado by leveraging industry and diplomatic networks
and arranging high-level engagements such as outbound
investment missions as well as inbound business and foreign
Such missions have also seen Colorado Governor Jared Polis
taking trips to and drumming up trade relations for the state in
Australia, India, and New Zealand.
Meyers was appointed as the new head of OEDIT by Polis in
April, taking on a big department with a big agenda.
Formerly working for the popular Denver-based Quiznos
sandwich chain before ultimately becoming the company’s
owner, Meyers has also served as a partner, managing director,
and chief legal officer for the investment firm Consumer Capital
Partners, which is also headquartered in Denver.
He subsequently served for two years, from 2017 to 2019, as
chief of staff to former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.
What he calls his “blended public service and private sector
background,” says Meyers, has spurred him to seek “diverse
perspectives to find solutions that achieve collective goals.”
“In addition to perspective,” says Meyers, “good people are key.
I’ve found that by investing in and empowering smart, capable
people, we can create high performing teams that accomplish
In his new job at OEDIT, Meyers is also heading up a department
that in recent years has placed an increasing emphasis on rural
economic development, a terrain that is sometimes overlooked
by state agencies.
That emphasis is anything but accidental.
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THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
DEVELOPMENT MAY HAVE
BEEN ENHANCED BY
PANDEMIC, SAYS NEW
By Garry Boulard, Construction Reporter