EDA makes $3 billion available for regional economies

July 22, 2021
By: Jason Rittenberg

Today, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced funding opportunities for the $3 billion Congress provided the agency in the American Rescue Plan Act. Funds are available through six distinct challenges, with separate goals and application processes/deadlines for each. The Build Back Better Regional Challenge, funded at $1 billion, may be the most substantial opportunity for tech-based economic development (TBED) organizations, but each of the six can support innovation economies — particularly now that TBED is an explicit component of EDA’s investment priorities.

EDA is making the $3 billion available across six funding streams:

  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($1 billion) – to support “transformational” investment to 20-30 regions by catalyzing or scaling regional industry clusters.
  • Good Jobs Challenge ($500 million) –  to strengthen workforce programs through system development, program design and program implementation.
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance ($500 million) – to make flexible investments in local economic development needs from planning to public works.
  • Indigenous Communities ($100 million) – to assist Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities through Economic Adjustment Assistance activities.
  • Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation ($750 million) – to provide states with dedicated and competitive funds to support these industries.
  • Statewide Planning, Research and Networks ($90 million) – to fund states’ planning efforts ($59 million), as well as program research and stakeholder communities ($31 million).

Additional details on the programs will be available as the formal notices of funding opportunities are published, which are expected later today, and SSTI members will receive updated information from SSTI.

SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council met with EDA staff earlier this year to propose using the American Rescue Plan funds to support substantial investments in regional innovation economies, program evaluation and planning efforts. The structure that EDA has announced appears to map well onto these priorities. SSTI will continue to work with EDA and the states to encourage specific Build Back Better, Good Jobs and planning projects that support tech- and innovation-focused sectors.

EDA is providing a webinar on ARPA funding, with two dates available: July 27 and July 29.

eda, regions, funding opportunity