funding opportunity

Commerce launches $100 million Capital Readiness Program for underserved entrepreneurs

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently launched the Capital Readiness Program grant competition, which will provide $93.5 million to help minority and other underserved entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses and be administered by the Minority Business Development Agency.

ARC launches $73.5 million grant initiative to grow regional economies in Appalachia

A new $73.5 million grant opportunity using funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is aimed at growing and supporting the development of new economic opportunities across multiple states in Appalachia. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) launched the Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) on Aug. 23 to drive large-scale, regional economic transformation through multi-state collaborative projects across the region. ARC has published a request for proposals, which makes available at least $10 million in FY 2022 funding for planning grants with a maximum award size of $500,000, and up to $63.5 million for implementation grants with a $10 million maximum award size. ARC has released a toolkit to help guide potential applicants in considering their multistate proposals and will hold a pre-application workshop on Sept. 12.

EDA announces up to $35 million in new funding opportunities for Economic Recovery Corps and Equity Impact Investments programs

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) last week announced a new funding opportunity that includes two programs designed to strengthen equitable economic development strategies across the country. One program will add staff resource to local organizations focused on improving economic resilience and competitiveness in distressed regions across the country, while the second will provide technical assistance to enable organizations serving underserved populations and communities to participate in economic development planning and projects.

CDFI Fund awards $180 million for finance, technical assistance

The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund announced 265 financial and technical assistance awards totaling more than $180 million this week. Awardees in the FY 2021 round have headquarters in 43 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Financial assistance awards can be used by CDFIs to support additional loans and investments to businesses in underserved communities, while technical assistance awards can be used to build the CDFI’s own capacity. Congratulations to SSTI member Launch NY, for receiving a $225,000 financial assistance award.

EDA launches $2 million STEM Talent Challenge

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has launched the FY 2021 $2 million STEM Talent Challenge to support programs to train science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) talent and fuel regional innovation economies across the nation. The challenge will provide funding for work-and-learn programs to increase America’s workforce in emerging and transformative sectors such as space commerce, aeronautics, digital manufacturing, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity. 

EDA makes $3 billion available for regional economies

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.

Federal prize competitions offer unique entrepreneurial opportunities to solve real problems

Combining the adages “necessity is the mother of invention” and “two heads are better than one,” the best innovations often arise by broadening the community of minds focused toward addressing a particular problem or need. The Obama Administration took the concept of funding open innovation competitions toward specific issues to heart, encouraging federal agencies to use prizes and challenges as much as practical. Going a step further, Congress enacted legislation in 2011 to make it easier for federal agencies to use the cost-effective tool and the practice was maintained during the four years of the Trump Administration. With early signs suggesting the incoming Biden administration will see a return of many key policymakers and themes from his Democratic predecessor, there may also be a renewed focus on using challenges and problem-solving prize competitions to spur innovation and prosperity coming out of the pandemic. A recent Department of Energy press release adds further weight to this hypothesis and provides a good opportunity for prospective grant seekers to begin to familiarize themselves with the concept in anticipation future federal funding rounds.

EDA announces $25 million funding opportunity for TBED through 2020 SPRINT Challenge

The Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) has announced $25 million for the Scaling Pandemic Resilience through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge utilizing funding from the CARES Act. EDA is seeking applications from organizations working to address the economic, health and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation. This national competition is designed to support the development, creation, or expansion of programs that accelerate technology-based economic development (TBED) in pursuit of vibrant, innovative economies and economic growth, and respond to the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Funding from Defense, EDA available

In separate announcements this week, the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) revealed funding opportunities that can assist efforts to transform American innovations and support the growth of new companies.

SSTI hosting EDA to discuss CARES funding – including forthcoming innovation opportunity

Join us for a special SSTI webinar on June 9th, when U.S. Economic Development Administration representatives will share information regarding $1.5 billion in economic development grants available for coronavirus response and recovery efforts at the local, state and regional levels. The EDA team also will discuss the pending innovation and entrepreneurship challenge component of the funding. Join us to learn more about qualifying for grants, which types of project support/assistance will be funded, how to apply, and more. There will be time for Q&A at the end of the presentation.


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