The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Wednesday that The Hamilton Mill has been awarded a $500,000 grant to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.
Wilbur Ross, United States Secretary of Commerce stated, “These projects will enable entrepreneurs in communities across the United States to start new businesses, manufacture innovative products, and export them throughout the world – increasing America’s global competitiveness.”
The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), leads the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. The program is authorized through the America COMPETES reauthorization Act of 2010, and has received dedicated appropriations since FY2014.
Chris Lawson, Executive Director of The Hamilton Mill stated, “What you’re witnessing is the coalescence of egoless partnership, driven performance, and a relentless focus that is transforming the organization, the region, and its approach to startup development. This announcement, falling on the heels of our SBDC being named the National 2017 Small Business Development Center of the Year this past spring, stands as a testament to our inclusive approach.”
“We are extremely excited and honored to receive this award. It illustrates the commitment of the Department of Commerce to back entrepreneurial ventures and organizations that are truly making a difference in regions that have a strong history of manufacturing and innovation,” said Antony Seppi, Operations Director at The Hamilton Mill. Seppi added, “Having the University of Cincinnati as a strategic partner bolsters the Hamilton Mill’s regional initiatives going forward.”
The Hamilton Mill grant includes a collaborative approach with the University of Cincinnati that focuses on four main programs. These programs include:
- Pipeline H2O – water-tech commercialization program;
- “City as a Lab” – demonstration support program;
- Industrialist-in-Residence Program – mentor support program focused on bringing specific expertise to assist startups;
- Industrialist xChange Portal – digital platform that connects industry challenges with solutions.
“The University of Cincinnati is extremely excited to be collaborating with The Hamilton Mill on this economic development initiative in the clean-tech sector. This grant is of major importance to our region and will significantly advance the momentum of our regional water cluster initiative. UC is very excited to be a partner in this grant and is committed to achieving its very important goals”, according to Dorothy Air, Associate Vice President for Research – Technology Commercialization and Phil Taylor, Assistant Vice President for Research – Strategic Initiatives.
42 organizations — including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations from 28 states received over $17 million to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early-stage seed capital funds through RIS. This is the first time an organization within the Greater Cincinnati Region has received an award as part of the EDA i6 Regional Innovation Strategies Program.
This fourth cohort of Regional Innovation Strategies awardees expands the RIS portfolio to eight new states and continues to build vibrant regional entrepreneurial economies. The awardees were selected from a pool of more than 217 applicants.