• Join your peers at SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference!

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and to register today.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Investing in Regional Innovation Strategies

November 16, 2016

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced this week that 35 organizations will receive nearly $15 million in funding to create and expand cluster-focused, proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early stage seed capital funds through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. The organizations, including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations, reach urban and rural areas across the U.S.

The awards include the program’s first investments in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the South through NexusLA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Research Park Corporation. Byron Clayton, CEO of NexusLA, said that the award will increase the diversity of the deal flow pipeline. Clayton said he saw a unique opportunity in partnering with Louisiana’s HBCUs, realizing their vast potential could be a valuable asset in the venture.

RIS, designed to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation, has been a top legislative priority of SSTI. The program was originally authorized through the America COMPETES reauthorization Act of 2010, and received a dedicated appropriation for the first time in FY2014.

RIS grants, broken into two categories — the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grants — were awarded to the following organizations.

Seed Fund Support Investments

  • CalCEF Ventures, California Clean Energy Fund, San Francisco, CA – $250,000
  • Investor’s Circle, Colorado Seed-Stage Impact Fund, Durham, NC – $250,000
  • Launch New York, Mentorship-Driven Seed Fund, Buffalo, NY – $245,460
  • Research Park Corporation, Louisiana Deal Flow Accelerator, Baton Rouge, LA – $250,000
  • Propeller and New Orleans Startup Fund, Social Impact Equity Fund, New Orleans, LA – $250,000
  • Telluride Foundation, Telluride, CO – $150,000
  • University of South Florida, Seed Tampa Bay, Tampa, FL – $150,000
  • University of Texas, Gender Lens Impact Fund, Austin, TX – $250,000

i6 Challenge Investments

  • AZ Board of Regents, RISN Incubator, Tempe, AZ – $500,000
  • Cal State LA University Auxiliary Services, LABioStart Boot Camp, Los Angeles, CA – $499,087
  • California State University Fresno Foundation, Central Valley Regional Energy Innovation Accelerator, Fresno, CA – $500,000
  • Clark Atlanta University, Clark Russell Entrepreneurship and Technology Ecosystem (CREATE), Atlanta, GA – $432,335
  • Composite Technology Recycling Center, Recycled Carbon Fiber Innovation Ecosystem Accelerator, Port Angeles, WA – $500,000
  • East Carolina University, Proof-of-Concept Project, Greenville, NC – $498,443
  • First Flight Venture Center, Hanger6, Durham, NC – $441,000
  • i2E Inc, Venture Assessment Program, Oklahoma City, OK – $199,749
  • Idea Foundry, Advance Life Sciences Commercialization Project, Pittsburgh, PA – $500,000
  • Lorain County Community College, Northeast Ohio Regional Acceleration in Digital Innovation (NEO ReADI), Elyria, OH – $499,999
  • Louisiana State University and A&M College, Louisiana State University Industrial Innovation Center (LSU-IIC), Baton Rouge, LA – $498,624
  • Metro North Regional Employment Board, Form to Factory Advanced Manufacturing Project, Cambridge, MA – $500,000
  • mHUB, Catalyze Chicago, Chicago, IL – $500,000
  • Mohawk Valley Community College, Upstate Innovation Accelerator, Utica, NY – $499,500
  • Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, Brooklyn, NY – $486,680
  • Regents of the University of California, Riverside Proof of Concept Center, Riverside, CA – $499,950
  • Research Foundation for the State University of New York, Regional SBIR/STTR Mentorship Program, Stony Brook, NY – $500,000
  • Rutgers University, Ecolgnite: Clean Energy Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator Program, Piscataway, NJ – $439,139
  • Southern Research Institute, Alliance for Innovative Medical Technology Proof of Concept Center, Birmingham, AL – $500,000
  • StartingBlock Madison, Fitchburg, WI – $471,875
  • University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., New Materials Innovation Center, Athens, GA – $499,635
  • University of Pittsburgh, Manufacturing Accelerator Program, Pittsburgh, PA – $500,000
  • University of Tennessee Health Science Center, The UTHSC Proof of Concept Center, Memphis, TN – $499,885
  • University of Texas at Austin, Texas Smart Water Innovation Cluster, Austin, TX – $500,000
  • University of Texas at San Antonio, The South-Texas Innovation Partnership Program (S-TIPP), San Antonio, TX – $499,997
  • University of Toledo, The University of Toledo Rocket Fuel Fund, Toledo, OH – $500,000
  • WERX Foundation, McKinney, TX – $345,895
dept of commerce, capital, accelerators