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EDA announces $25 million funding opportunity for TBED through 2020 SPRINT Challenge

October 15, 2020

The Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) has announced $25 million for the Scaling Pandemic Resilience through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge utilizing funding from the CARES Act. EDA is seeking applications from organizations working to address the economic, health and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation. This national competition is designed to support the development, creation, or expansion of programs that accelerate technology-based economic development (TBED) in pursuit of vibrant, innovative economies and economic growth, and respond to the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

A total of $25 million will be available and applications should focus on activities that will increase regional competitiveness through new product innovation or new technology adoption, improve the commercialization of research, enhance the overall innovation capacity and resilience of a region, and/or leverage regional competitive strengths to overcome challenges inhibiting innovation and job creation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Applicant organizations should articulate a clearly defined strategy to leverage grant funds to support one or more of the following activities to help address the needs of and unique operating environment necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Scaling biotechnology, health security, and supply chain technologies to market;
  • Increasing regional, national, and government connectivity to support commercialization and entrepreneurship;
  • Developing new and unique investment capital models to address the financial needs of entrepreneurs; and/or,
  • Developing and scaling entrepreneurship support models to address the virtual and remote work environment of the pandemic.

Eligibility and proposal criteria under the SPRINT Challenge differs from other grant competitions hosted by OIE, including the Build to Scale (B2S) program, because it is funded through Economic Adjustment Assistance funding provided by the CARES Act.

Interested applicants are encouraged to attend an informational webinar on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. EDT that will provide a strategic overview and highlight program goals, as well as address technical application questions. Registration is now open for the webinar, “Building Resilience through Innovation: EDA’s SPRINT Challenge.” The webinar, with representatives from EDA, the NADO Research Foundation and SSTI, may be particularly useful for applicants new to EDA’s application procedures, or those who are unfamiliar with the requirements under EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, such as Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) alignment, grant rates, and economic distress.

Applicants may request up to $500,000 in federal funds over a 12-month period, or $750,000 over 18 months. EDA expects to fund up to 80 percent of eligible project costs. Applications are due by Dec. 3.

funding opportunity