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Wide range of focus areas submitted to EDA’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge

November 03, 2021

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced it received more than 500 applications to its Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC. Applicants are competing for 50 to 60 Phase 1 awards of $500,000 each to support the planning of “bottom-up, middle-out” economic development projects designed to advance and accelerate an equitable economic recovery, create good-paying jobs, and build resilient regions across the country. Winners of the Phase 1 awards will go on to develop a full proposal for Phase 2, and in March between 20 and 30 of the projects will receive up to $100 million each to implement their projects.

While the details of each application are private, examining the individual project titles shows a wide range of probable project focus areas across states and regions. As seen in the interactive map below, every state is represented by at least two BBBRC applicants, with the total number of project applications per state indicated by green shading, with darker shading indicating a greater number of applications. The pie charts indicate the shares of applications that included the key terms in the color legend.

Specifically, this analysis examines the project titles and used keyword searches to identify those applications that included the terms for 1) bio, life or health; 2) clean or sustainable energy; 3) manufacturing or supply chain; 4) workforce; and, 5) other, and unspecified terms. Projects may be assigned multiple focus area categories and are included in duplicate counts when multiple focus areas apply. The total number of applications in each of these categories was: 22 projects in Workforce; 48 projects in Bio, Life or Health; 51 projects in Clean or Sustainable Energy; 72 projects in Manufacturing or Supply Chain; and, 335 projects did not fall into any of these categories based on our chosen keywords.

eda, funding