U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the opening of a national grant competition funded through the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and future pandemics through innovation and entrepreneurship. Secretary Ross announced the competition at St. Petersburg College (SPC) in St. Petersburg, Florida and was joined by SPC President Tonjua Williams, Pinellas County Economic Development Director Mike Meidel and local entrepreneurs and innovators.
The Scaling Pandemic Resilience through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge is a $25 million national grant competition funded through the CARES Act and will enable organizations to help entrepreneurs address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic and future pandemics. The SPRINT Challenge will provide grants for innovation and entrepreneurship support initiatives that help communities and regions unlock the potential of America’s entrepreneurs and grow innovative, technology‑driven businesses.
During his remarks, Secretary Ross stated that as the nation faces an unprecedented pandemic, it is critical to develop the technologies and supply chains needed to respond to coronavirus, bolster the support networks and resources entrepreneurs need to pivot and excel in this new operating environment, and help build more resilient regional economies for the future. Pinellas County, located in the Tampa Bay area was a prime location to announce this national competition, as the county is a flourishing high-tech hub, with 31,000 advanced manufacturing workers and 22,000 technology workers.
Secretary Ross also noted that, through the CARES Act, EDA was provided $1.5 billion to help communities prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus. To date, EDA has invested $805.3 million in more than 780 CARES Act Recovery Assistance projects across the country. Fifteen of those grants were awarded in Florida totaling $11.2 million.
For more information on EDA CARES Act grants, please visit the EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page.