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EDA awards $53 million in Build to Scale awards to strengthen regional innovation economies

November 09, 2023
By: Jason Rittenberg

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced 60 organizations receiving $53 million from the Build to Scale program today. This is the program’s 10th and largest award cycle, following years of consistent appropriations growth from Congress. The Build to Scale program, which includes the Venture Challenge and Capital Challenge, funds the launch or expansion of programs that address regional needs to achieve a more robust innovation economy. SSTI has been a staunch supporter of Build to Scale and participating organizations since it was first formed.

EDA map of FY 2023 Build to Scale awardees.

EDA's map of the 2023 Build to Scale awardees.

Congratulations to all of the SSTI members involved in newly awarded projects, including those led by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Delaware Innovation Space, eFactory, JumpStart, Louisiana State University, Rocky Mountain Innovation Initiative/Innosphere, University of Oklahoma, and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Build to Scale is divided into two challenges, and the Venture Challenge is further divided into Ignite, Build, and Scale tiers, while the Capital Challenge has the Form and Deploy tiers. Based on award sizes (each tier has a maximum award size), EDA appears to have made awards in the following categories:

  • Venture – Ignite awards ($300,000 max): 9
  • Venture – Build awards ($750,000 max): 11
  • Venture – Scale awards ($2 million max): 20
  • Capital – Form awards ($400,000 max): 11
  • Capital – Deploy awards ($750,000 max): 9

In the lead-up to the application deadline, SSTI provided information about the Build to Scale program through the Tech-based Economic Development (TBED) Community of Practice, which SSTI operates with support from EDA. This included a peer-to-peer discussion session about lessons learned in working with the program and a series in the Federal Funding Video Library.

SSTI will be working with EDA to reach out to all new awardees to understand their project ambitions and concerns, with an eye toward developing TBED Community of Practice programming in 2024.

All organizations interested in Build to Scale—including those who were not successful in 2023 or are just learning about the program—are encouraged to connect with SSTI for assistance.

Learn more about SSTI’s TBED Community of Practice at ssti.org/tbedcop or contact tbedcop@ssti.org with questions.

Congress has continued to fund the Build to Scale program over the past decade, even as the overall budget or Administration support has varied. This funding is a key priority for SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council, which has seen funding increase from $0 in 2013 to $50 million in 2023 since it began communicating about the impact of regional innovation strategies to members of Congress.

Both the House and Senate have proposed $50 million again for Build to Scale in FY 2024, but funding remains uncertain as the chambers and White House remain far apart on many other budget matters.

To learn more about funding for the federal TBED program, contact SSTI’s Jason Rittenberg (rittenberg@ssti.org).

eda, b2s, RIS, CoP, tbed