Region 10, Montrose County, and Partners Secure $1.7 Million Grant for New Olathe Innovation Center

Region 10 Montrose County News Release

MONTROSE, Colo.,– Region 10, Montrose County, and supporting partners are proud to announce the award of a $1.7 million Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development. This grant will help support an innovation center in Olathe that will focus on the value-added agriculture manufacturing as well as food and beverage businesses. 

“Region 10 has been working with the Olathe community for several years to improve economic opportunities,” said Region 10 Executive Director Michelle Haynes. “We are pleased to be able to begin this exciting new program in Olathe, as we expand the current programming in Small Business Development and Business Loan Fund to provide additional support for small business owners. This investment in the community will have both short and long-term impacts, providing new opportunities for community members to start and grow their businesses.” 

“This project is the ultimate partnership,” said Commissioner Sue Hansen. “From contributions by both Delta and Montrose counties as well as additional partners to the rent-free building opportunity from the Montrose County Housing Authority . . . this amount of cooperation will make a lasting positive impact on the development of both small business owners and the youth of Olathe and the region.”  

Montrose County Housing Authority has a 6,500 square vacant building in Olathe that will become the home of this project. The building will be renovated to meet the needs of the new project. 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. There will also be a hub where businesses can rent space at scaled rates and participate in incubator and accelerator programming to grow overall.  

Additionally, there are plans to include a makerspace and 3D printer to support innovation and technology. Businesses and start-ups will also be offered incubator-like services to support their formation and growth. Targeted businesses include food producers/packagers, caterers, food-trucks, and other food related 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 goal of this facility is to create a one-stop-shop for business support and development,” said Delta County Administrator Robbie LeValley. “We saw the value for not only Delta County but also for the entire region. Having this type of business development resource in our area is a big win.”  

Matching funds for the grant will be provided by Montrose County ($160,000), Region 10 ($160,000), Delta County ($40,000), Town of Olathe ($20,000), and Bank of Colorado ($15,000). Additionally, the estimated value of the long term rent donated by the Montrose County Housing Authority is $168,000. The project is community-driven and includes several partners, including: Region 10, 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, the Montrose County Housing Authority (MCHA), and Bank of Colorado.  

“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 who desire to live and work in these areas,” said USDA Rural Development Director Armando Valdez. 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. For more information in Colorado, visit www.rd.usda.gov/co. For more information on this project and Region 10, please visit: https://region10.net/.