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U.S. Commerce Secretary Announces $10 Million in Grants to Advance Innovation Across America

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the first 26 recipients of the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies program grants. The Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program, which is being run by the Department’s Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), is a new initiative designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country through three different types of grants: i6 Challenge grants, Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds, and Science and Research Park Development Grants. Secretary Pritzker announced the recipients of the first two funding opportunities today. Recipients of the third grant will be announced in the coming weeks.

“As America’s “Innovation Agency,” the Commerce Department has a key role to play in supporting the innovators and job creators of tomorrow,” said Secretary Pritzker. “We want to ensure that all entrepreneurs have access to the tools they need to move their ideas and inventions from idea to market. The Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition is designed to advance this mission across the United States, strengthening our economy and our global competitiveness.”

i6 Challenge

The i6 Challenge, was launched in 2010 as part of the Startup America Initiative, and is now in its fourth iteration. i6 is a national competition that makes small, targeted, high-impact investments to support startup creation, innovation, and commercialization. Now that the i6 Challenge is included in the new Regional Innovation Strategies Program, the funding will support more than just Proof-of-Concept Centers. Investments will also go toward the expansion of existing centers and in later-stage Commercialization Centers, which help innovators fine tune and scale their innovations to bring new products and services to the market. The total amount of funding for the i6 Challenge under RIS is nearly $8 million.

Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds

Early access to capital is crucial for startups, but can be difficult to obtain outside traditional startup hubs. Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds provide technical assistance funding to support the feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds, which will help improve access to capital for entrepreneurs across the United States.  The total amount of funding for the U.S. Cluster Grant for Seed Capital Funds under RIS is nearly $2 million.

Grantees under the RIS i6 Challenge include:

Albany Medical College, Albany, NY

$399,585 for the Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center at Albany Medical College

BioAccel, Phoenix, AZ

$499,764 for the Southwest Proof of Concept Commercialization Center

BioSTL, St. Louis, MO

$500,000 for Advancing regional prosperity in St. Louis by accelerating the transition of bioscience innovation

City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

$474,453 for Startup in Residence

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

$500,000 for The Southern Tier Innovation Hot Spot

Curators of the University of Missouri on behalf of UMKC, Kansas City, MO

$500,000 for the Digital Sandbox KC: Expanding Kansas City’s Proof-of-Concept Center

Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Atlanta, GA

$500,000 to Provide education, support and programs to develop the entrepreneurial community in Georgia

Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA

$499,959 for the I 20 Corridor Maker Space Innovation Network

Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO), Columbia, MD

$499,822 for the mdSTEPP Program

Montana Economic Revitalization and Development Institute, Butte, MT

$148,600 for the Manufacturing Consortium of Montana Mansfield Prototyping Center

New Orleans BioInnovation Center Inc., New Orleans, LA

$500,000 for the Louisiana Life Sciences Technology Commercialization Center

Ohio Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Center, Inc., Lima, OH

$449,950 for the Development of High Strain Rate Metal Forming Commercialization Center

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

$500,000 for TechCelerator: Catalyzing a Regional Innovation Strategy to Accelerate New Company Formations through Technology Commercialization

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

$499,826 for Technology Commercialization Carolina (TCC)

University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK

$499,064 for the Alaska Center for Microgrid Technologies Commercialization

University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

$500,000 for the Maker Spaces I-Corps Proof of Concept Center

University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

$500,000 for the FirstWaVE Venture Center Program Expansion

Grantees under the U.S. Cluster Grant for Seed Capital Funds awards for this round of RIS include:

Albany Medical College, Albany, NY

$124,910 for the Biomedical Acceleration & Commercialization Center at Albany Medical College (BACC)SEED Fund

Milwaukee Water Council, Inc., Milwaukee, WI

$71,625 for the Wisconsin Water Cluster Seed Capital Fund Grant

Clean Energy Trust, Chicago, IL

$250,000 for the Clean Energy Prize Fund

Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Phoenix, AZ

$221,467 for the Greater Phoenix Seed Fund Feasibility Study

Quatere, Salt Lake City, UT

$250,000 for the creation and implementation of Next Generation Early Stage Umbrella Fund

Regional Development Corporation, Espanola, NM

$248,946 for the Venture Acceleration Fund Enhancement Project NM

Technology 2020, Oak Ridge, TN

$250,000 for TennesSeed

University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

$249,933 for the StarterCorps Seed Fund

University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND

$250,000 for the Cluster Grants for Seed Funds in North Dakota

via U.S. Commerce Secretary Announces $10 Million in Grants to Advance Innovation Across America | U.S. Economic Development Administration.

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