funding

European Union to invest billions in innovation

As the most ambitious innovation initiative that Europe has ever undertaken, the European Union (EU) recently launched the European Innovation Council (EIC) with a €10 billion (about $11.7 billion USD) fund that will provide both non-dilutive grants to and direct equity investments in innovative startups within the union. After a successful three-year pilot, the EIC is merging with the current Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and has already launched its first official program with a call for proposals worth €1.5 billion (approximately $1.8 billion USD).

$38 million Build to Scale program open for applications

This week, the U.S. Economic Development Administration announced that the Build to Scale program has opened for applications. The Build to Scale program provides operating funding for tech-based economic development initiatives in regional economies. This program has long been a top priority for SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council, and we are happy that our continued success in raising the program’s appropriation means this year’s funding opportunity will award $38 million in grants.

Research makes case for larger publicly-backed pre-seed/innovation funds as pandemic persists

Key findings from two independent research projects reveal the pandemic’s corrosive effect on the nation’s innovation commercialization capacity. The projects separately explored how two related innovation financing components — angel investment and venture capital — were reacting to the coronavirus-caused slowdown. Individually, the results might appear simply as yet more interesting curiosities about the pandemic. Considered together, however, and one begins to see the potential unraveling of the broader U.S. innovation tapestry required to support long-term economic prosperity.

Data indicates decreased funding for higher ed points to worsening outcomes for students

In addition to decreasing enrollment numbers at both two- and four-year institutions of higher education, detailed in an earlier SSTI Digest story, higher ed is facing other threats from looming state budget cuts. While enrollment numbers are still in flux, many universities are already making drastic budget reductions, and that pain will ultimately land on students, which could impact educational attainment and student debt for years.

Key insights from this year’s Angel Funders Report finds increasing investor optimism, concentration in follow-on deals

The Angel Capital Association has recently released its Angel Funders Report 2020, examining the angel investor landscape through a survey of 76 angel groups and investments made during 2019. While the survey results represent only a portion of the larger angel investment community, the ACA report does provide useful insights into the current trends within the angel funder sphere.

Fed broadens terms of Main Street lending program, more help for small businesses

Amid dwindling hope for a second stimulus package from Congress, the Federal Reserve has widened the terms of its Main Street lending program to better target support for small businesses. According to the new guidelines, the minimum loan size for three Main Street vehicles available to for-profit and non-profit borrowers has been reduced from $250,000 to $100,000. Corresponding fees have also been adjusted to encourage loan dispersal.

$5.5B for R&D in CA among critical state ballot initiatives

With the general election less than one month away, SSTI has reviewed the 120 state ballot initiatives throughout the country for innovation-related issues. Education, gig workers, redistricting and issues surrounding elections and state budgets are scattered across the country and can affect the future of innovation through funding, talent and political will. Read below for coverage on the initiatives that could have an impact on different segments of the economy and the future of innovation.

SBA awards up to $3 million in FAST funding to 24 organizations

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced 24 organizations as recipients of the 2020 Federal and State Technology partnership (FAST) program grant awards. The awards of up to $125,000 focus on “specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for R&D-focused small businesses.” The FAST program grants one-year funding to organizations that work to partner with other in-state groups.

EDA awards $35 million for 52 Build-to-Scale projects

This week, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the 2020 Build-to-Scale awards. In this round, nearly $35 million was awarded to 52 organizations to support regional strategies advancing entrepreneurship and innovation. Through the end of 2019, funded organizations had worked with more than 6,200 startups, facilitating $1.6 billion in investment and the launch of more than 9,000 products, according to EDA.

Inclusive innovation ecosystem prize competition launched

The Lab-to-Market (L2M) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on the Science and Technology Enterprise is launching a $325,000 prize competition to highlight successful examples of innovation ecosystems, particularly existing resources that support underserved communities or remarkable responses to the pandemic environment. There are three categories for applicants with an informational webinar

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