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Regional Innovation Strategies 2017 funding available

May 11, 2017

The Economic Development Administration is seeking applications through June 23 for the 2017 Regional Innovation Strategies program. Through SSTI’s work with Congress, a record $17 million is available this year. Along with increased funding, the notice of funding availability includes a few changes from previous years. More information will also be available in a webinar SSTI is hosting with EDA on May 22 at 3 p.m. EDT.

EDA is providing two separate funding opportunities:

  • i6 Challenge ($13 million) – strengthening initiatives to improve the transformation of ideas into new products, solutions, businesses and jobs; and,
  • Seed Fund Support Grant Competition ($4 million) – supporting efforts to plan, form, launch or scale seed funds investing in high growth and innovation-focused startups.

The i6 Challenge awards are largely unchanged from last year. However, the available funding for Seed Fund Support has doubled and will now provide awards of up to three years and $300,000.

A new rule from the FY 2017 budget will also affect this year’s Regional Innovation Strategies funding. The omnibus requires that 10 percent of awarded funds provide “assistance in persistent poverty counties” (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017; SEC. 539), defined as a poverty rate greater than 20 percent over the past 30 years.

Since the 2016 funding round, EDA has also implemented new rules that affect the information sought in the narrative component of the application. All organizations, including previous applicants, should thoroughly review the new funding notice.

SSTI and EDA are hosting a webinar on the funding announcement on May 22 at 3 p.m. EDT. As with previous years, EDA will highlight important aspects of the program and application and be available to take questions: register today.

regions, eda