The year 2020 began with a global pandemic that crippled the economy, upended daily routines, and saw heightened political and cultural tensions.  But all this has made clear that, second to the coronavirus, Colorado’s economic recovery is the top of mind for voters across the state

With the election behind us, we need political leaders to prioritize safe economic recovery and champion technological adaptation and innovation.

Fortunately, we’re starting from a strong position.

Long before COVID-19 forced us to change the way we do business, Colorado was charting a new course for the state’s economic future by embracing technology and cutting-edge digital tools. Our state has attracted a bigger footprint from tech leaders like Netflix, Google, IBM and Apple in recent years. 

Companies such as Dish Network and Ping Identity are finding success as they meet technological needs.  Homegrown tech startups have significantly grown their footprint. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses across the state have been increasingly modernizing their operations with the help of digital technologies.

Considering the pioneering spirit of our state and our growing tech footprint, it should come as no surprise that when the pandemic hit this spring, Colorado businesses didn’t shy away from using leading digital platforms to pivot their operation models.

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According to a study by the Connected Commerce Council (3C), small businesses in our state were better prepared to handle a crisis like COVID-19 because of their early adoption of and investment in digital tools. The study also found businesses across Colorado had lower-than-national-average revenue reduction and a higher comfort level with using digital tools before the pandemic. 

Technology has enabled resiliency in the Colorado small-business community. A key factor in Colorado businesses being able to shift and adapt quickly has been, without question, the access to and implementation of digital platforms. 

Whether a business is using online platforms to connect with customers, process online orders, keep in touch with employees, or adhere to safety standards, businesses across our state have embraced digital tools. 

Digital adaptation was crucial to ensure they had a fighting chance at surviving the economic challenges brought on by COVID-19. Heroic efforts from IT professionals ensured their organizations were able to produce business results while working efficiently and securely in remote locations.  

In some cases, this agility has translated into additional revenue opportunities. Remote work is already looking to be a permanent fixture for many.

It’s hard to think of a tougher business climate in recent memory than the one we’re facing now for specific industries and regions. And as much as we’d like to see the pandemic in our rearview mirror, cases in our state continue to rise, which means we must all continue exercising caution and implementing safe operating practices. 

Because of this, businesses will continue to rely on digital platforms to safely operate until the pandemic ends, and many will continue to use them long after it is over. This new reality will require policy makers to recognize how critical the role of technology will be in building back the state economy at all levels, from the small business community to the state’s economy at large.

Our organizations work closely to amplify the voice of business and advocate for smart policy that fosters and protects a thriving, innovative technology climate. It is essential that we have smart legislation that is streamlined, efficient and future-focused for our economy to thrive. 

Debbie Brown is the president of Colorado Business Roundtable. Frannie Matthews is the president and CEO of the Colorado Technology Association.

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Special to The Colorado Sun Twitter: @fmfrannieco

Debbie Brown, of Centennial, is president of the Colorado Business Roundtable.