The Fort Collins Economy

Fort Collins is the business center of Northern Colorado. It is the area’s center for government, retail trade, the arts, health care, education, and employment with the region’s largest and best educated workforce.

Fort Collins’ economy is diverse and resilient. The key sectors that inject disposable income into the economy are manufacturing, high tech, higher education, and the state and federal government.

Key manufacturers include Advanced Energy, Aleph ObjectsAnheuser-BuschIn-Situ, Noosa, Otter Products, Tolmar, VestasWalker Manufacturing,  Water Pik, and Woodward.

Among high tech firms, Fort Collins has a major presence of semi-conductor firms. It is one of the few places on the planet with facilities for Advanced Energy Industries, Broadcom,  HP-E, and Intel.

Other sectors of note include geospatial, water innovation, clean energy, and bioscience.
Adding stability to the economy and driving innovation is Colorado State University. As a land grant university, CSU is one of the country’s leading research universities with strong emphasis on vector-borne infectious disease, veterinary medicine, atmospheric science, clean energy technologies, and environmental science.  Annually, the university attracts over $300 million in research funding. CSU has 32,000 students from all 50 states and 80 nations. The university is also the community’s largest employer with nearly 7,000 employees. Colorado State has made a concerted effort to commercialize its research. One key partner in that effort is the Colorado State University Research Foundation (CSURF) and its subsidiary CSU Ventures.

As a center for private sector, federal government and university research, Fort Collins has an impressive and growing set of research facilities and business incubators.

As noted with some of the above-named facilities, the state and federal government also have a significant presence in Fort Collins including the National Seed Storage LaboratoryUS Forest Service Visitor Center for the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National ForestNatural Resources Research CenterAgricultural Research ServiceNational Wildlife Research CenterNational Institute of Standards and Technology, and the State Division of Wildlife to name a few.

This blend of innovative manufacturing and high tech firms, an educated population, research facilities, and a first-rate research university that emphasizes commercialization of research makes Fort Collins one of the nation’s most innovative and entrepreneurial communities. It’s a brain-driven economy with 11.45 patents issued per 10,000 people, which is 4 times higher than the average community. Not only that, but the population is highly educated, with 48% of residents holding a college degree and 14% with a doctoral degree.