Business in Boulder
It is easy to see why Boulder has been recognized as one of the best places to start or grow a business. A culture of innovation and entrepreneurial support helps businesses thrive here. Boulder is home to a world-class research university, more than a dozen federal research labs and growing companies in a diverse mix of industries. Boulder has numerous resources for new and established businesses provided by the city's Economic Vitality program and partner organizations.
Boulder is frequently recognized for its quality of life and business climate. Recent accolades include #1 Best City for Small Business Owners, #1 Best Community for Physical Well-Being, #1 Most Active City in the U.S. and #4 Best City to Launch a Startup in 2016. View more community honors.
The city's Economic Vitality staff provides information, referrals to local, regional and state resources, and direct assistance to businesses.
Planning and Development Services
The City of Boulder's Planning and Development Services coordinates all of the development-related functions, including permits, across the city's Community Planning & Sustainability and Public Works departments.
Licensing, Permits, and Taxes
Any business entity, organization or person engaged in business within Boulder city limits must have a city Business/Sales and Use Tax License.
- The city’s Tax and Licensing Division manages business licensing and sales, use and other taxes.
- Businesses can pay sales and use taxes online using the city’s payment portal system.
- Building permits are issued through Planning & Development Services.
- Information about other permits and licenses for businesses can be found on our Licensing and Permitting page. Other licenses may also be required.
The City of Boulder offers Business Incentive Programs to support the growth and expansion of businesses in Boulder. Programs include rebates of certain fees and taxes for eligible companies that investment in facilities or equipment, loans to small businesses that have the ability to repay a loan but may not be able to obtain financing through traditional sources, and more.
Business Sustainability Programs
Reducing waste, conserving water and making your business more energy efficient is good for the environment and good for business. The city's Climate and Sustainability Division and its partners offer Commercial Water and Energy Conservation, Water and Wastewater Permitting, and Zero Waste recycling, composting and reuse resources. In addition, Boulder County offers several Sustainability Programs for Businesses.
Boulder Public Library
The Boulder Public Library provides a variety of resources for entrepreneurs and businesses, including databases, demographic and market research data, and online courses. Library staff can help you find the right data and resources for your business. BLDG 61 is a makerspace located in the main library that offers workshops, guided practice and open access to 3D printers, woodworking, metalworking, fiber arts and other equipment.
Doing Business with the City of Boulder
There are a variety of resources and opportunities available for businesses interested in doing business with the City of Boulder.
Downtown Boulder Retail Vibrancy Study
Maintaining Downtown Boulder's retail sales tax base and competitive position requires a strategic approach based on a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the current retail mix, competitive environment, emerging trends, community needs and market potential.
In 2017, the City of Boulder and Downtown Boulder Partnership (DBP) commissioned a comprehensive and strategic review of Downtown Boulder retail and vibrancy. Study results will inform the development of a retail strategy that identifies and prioritizes recommended actions to maintain and enhance the appeal and economic vitality of Boulder's downtown in the face of a rapidly changing retail environment. The study will also serve as the foundation for a city-wide retail and business sustainability study in 2018.
The final Downtown Boulder Retail Vibrancy Study report will be released soon.
Other Business Resources