RIS

Federal budget continues growth for innovation initiatives

The final FY 2021 budget provides $1.4 trillion in total federal funding, including increases in some programs affecting the innovation economy. Among SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council priorities: EDA’s Build to Scale received an appropriation of $38 million, SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters received $6 million, and SBA’s Federal and State Technology (FAST) program received $4 million. These are just a few of the federally-funded initiatives that support regional innovation economies and a wide range of federal R&D activities.

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.

Momentum builds for $50 million Regional Innovation program in FY 2021

Nine national, nonprofit think tanks and innovation-focused associations have written a letter urging the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations subcommittees to provide $50 million in FY 2021 for Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS; now Build-to-Scale). Similarly, 50 current and former awardees have written to ask Congress to continue expanding the program’s support. These efforts follow dozens of meetings between SSTI members and congressional offices early last month.

Regional Innovation Strategies making $35 million available

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has announced the FY 2020 notice of funding availability for the Regional Innovation Strategies program. There are multiple changes to the program this year, including that EDA is now referring to the program as “Build to Scale.” A total of $35 million is available this year due to support from Congress with advocacy from SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council. The Trump Administration budget proposal for FY2020, and again for FY2021, proposed eliminating the program.

8 things to know from the FY 2020 budget

Congress is expected to pass the FY 2020 budget this week, and as anticipated, the bills include billions in new appropriations. Innovation policy priorities, such as Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and NSF, did well in the final budget. Here are the top things to know about innovation initiatives in the final budget.

1. Regional Innovation Strategies receives $33 million

Defense bill extends Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing USA

This year’s national defense authorization act (NDAA) includes extensions of the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and Manufacturing USA. The House and Senate have passed the FY 2020 legislation, which authorizes up to $738 billion in appropriations and sets policy for a wide range of defense-related activities. The NDAA is one of the few bills that passes Congress each year.

Federal innovation policy at the recess — what has moved in Congress and what may happen in the fall

The 116th Congress has already advanced policies to affect regional innovation economies, and much more is poised to happen once both chambers return in September. In addition to completing the FY 2019 budget (see our Feb. coverage), this session has seen Regional Innovation Strategies legislation pass the House and Senate (albeit in different bills); the Senate working toward an overhaul of the Small Business Administration; and, the start of the FY 2020 budget process.

Senate approved revamped Regional Innovation Strategies as part of defense bill

Thanks to leadership by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), the Senate approved a revamped authorization of the Regional Innovation Strategies program (RIS) as part of its National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 (NDAA). The bill would extend the program’s funding authority to $50 million per year through FY 2024.

Dozens of organizations state support for Regional Innovation Strategies

More than 50 current and former program awardees, along with 11 tech-based economic development-focused organizations led by SSTI have signed letters supporting the Regional Innovation Strategies program at EDA. Since 2014, when the program first received funding, EDA has funded 180 projects across nearly every state, D.C., and Puerto Rico. In FY 2019, Congress appropriated $23.5 million. These projects have supported specific regional activities, including mission-focused seed investing in Kansas, maritime tech demonstrations in Washington, and incubator services in Florida.

Regional Innovation Strategies deadline April 4

EDA is currently soliciting proposals for $23.5 million in Regional Innovation Strategies (i6 Challenge and Seed Fund Support), and submissions are due April 4. For those looking for more information, EDA’s website contains profiles of all past awardees, and SSTI has a collection of past webinars, including the informational webinar for the current opportunity.

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