Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has announced another $10 million in grants for 25 awardees under the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.
RIS, managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), is designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities through the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grants competition.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in a release that “The Regional Innovation Strategies program is critical to ensuring that entrepreneurs have access to the tools they need to move their ideas and inventions from idea to market.”
The total amount of funding for the i6 Challenge under this RIS round is $8 million. The i6 Challenge, launched in 2010 as part of the Startup America Initiative, is now in its fifth iteration. It is a national competition that makes small, targeted, high-impact investments to support startup creation, innovation, and help turn technology into jobs.
For example, the University of Alabama in Huntsville is getting $500,000 for a $12 million business incubator. The EDA investment funds the university’s Virtual Proof of Concept Center (POCC): The Growth & Acceleration of Products (GAP) Project. It will allow UAH to jump-start many of the functions of its planned Innovation to Invention Center (I2C) as it gathers funding for that center’s building.
Dr. Ray Vaughn, UAH vice president for research and economic development, said in a statement that “We are extremely pleased about the news that EDA awarded this i6 Challenge grant to UAH in support of our Innovation to Invention Center.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams was in Maine to announce $640,000 in federal funding. The Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) in Portland will receive $390,000 to expand its Top Gun Program into the Top Gun Rural Accelerator Network, and Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) in Wiscasset will receive $250,000 to launch a Natural Resource Business Seed Capital Fund to support rural business development.
Assistant Secretary Williams noted in a blog post on the eda.gov website that “Although two very separate organizations, their efforts are great examples of a holistic approach to developing a comprehensive community of resources – an “ecosystem” – for innovators and entrepreneurs within a specific region.”
The full list of grantees under this round of RIS i6 Challenge funding is as follows:
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico: $368,760 for Next Gen Entrepreneurship (Next Gen);
Telluride Foundation, Telluride, Colorado: $499,720 for Southwest Innovation Corridor;
University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama: $500,000 for UAH Virtual Proof of Concept Center (POCC): The Growth & Acceleration of Products (GAP) Project
University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut: $500,000 for Quiet Corner Innovation Cluster (QCIC);
Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Portland, Maine: $390,000 for Top Gun Rural Accelerator Network Expansion;
Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, Ohio: $498,282 for Accelerating Pharmaceutical Commercialization: A Rural Proof of Concept Center for Economic Development;
University of Wisconsin System, Stevens Point, Wisconsin: $499,965 for a new Proof of Concept Center;
Arkansas State University, State University, Arkansas: $500,000 for East Arkansas Regional Innovation System;
CareerSource Broward, Fort Lauderdale, Florida: $499,999 for SUN i6 Challenge;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia: $499,751 for CatalyzeVT: Expanding the Innovation Ecosystem in the Roanoke-Blacksburg Region of Virginia;
Innovation Alliance, Seattle, Washington: $500,000 for Clean Water Innovation Initiative (CWII);
University of Hawaii System, Honolulu, Hawaii: $500,000 for XLR8UH Hawaii Innovation Ecosystem Development Project;
Quatere, Salt Lake City, Utah: $500,000 for Quatere Cohorts Innovation Center Expansion;
Oklahoma Innovation Institute, Tulsa, Oklahoma: $351,400 for Tulsa Research Partners Technology Commercialization Concentrator for Tulsa;
BioHealth Innovation, Inc., Rockville, Maryland: $495,000 for expansion of the Venture Commercialization Model (V-COMM);
Innovation Works, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: $500,000 for a rural hardware entrepreneurship program in southwest Pennsylvania; and
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon: $447,231 for Oregon State Engineered Wood Building Products Commercialization Project.
Another $2 million in RIS funding is being awarded through the Seed Fund Support competition. Here’s the full list of this year’s eight Seed Fund Support grants:
Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation, Youngstown, Ohio: $250,000 for Valley Growth Ventures, LLC;
Enterprize Events Inc., Guaynabo, Puerto Rico: $250,000 for the Puerto Rico IDE Seed Fund;
Coastal Enterprises Inc., Wiscasset, Maine: $250,000 for the CEI Natural Resource Business Seed Capital Fund;
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina: $250,000 for the Triangle Venture Alliance;
BioAccel, Phoenix, Arizona: $250,000 for the Southwest Integrated Investment Ecosystem Development Project;
Global Center for Medical Innovation, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia: $249,981 for the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) MedTech Seed Fund & Accelerator Program;
Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Fund, Chicago, Illinois: $248,200 for the Energy Foundry Seed Investor Education and Strategic Partner Development Project; and
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $250,000 for Greater Philadelphia Impact Partners.