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

26 Grants Issued through the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to Spur Capacity Building and Access to Capital for Innovators and Entrepreneurs

Mar302015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 30, 2015

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:

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

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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