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U.S. Department of Commerce: Regional Innovation Strategies Program

Deadline: April 4, 2019

The Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) leads the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. Under the RIS Program, the EDA currently awards grants that build regional capacity to translate innovations into jobs (1) through proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs and (2) through operational support for organizations that provide essential early-stage risk capital to innovators and entrepreneurs.

The RIS Program will support two unique grant opportunities:

  1. The i6 Challenge: The i6 Challenge is a leading national initiative designed to support the creation of centers for innovation and entrepreneurship that increase the rate at which innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research are translated into products, services, viable companies, and jobs. The i6 Challenge will provide funding to invest in the development, creation, or expansion of proof-of-concept and commercialization programs that accelerate innovation-led economic development in pursuit of vibrant, innovative economies and economic growth. Proposed projects may aim for some of or all the following outputs and outcomes or others, as appropriate in light of each given proposed project’s regional, sectoral, and economic contexts: Innovation; Entrepreneurship; Regional Connectivity; Commercialization of Research.
  2. Seed Fund Support: Seed Fund Support (SFS) Program provides funding for technical assistance to support the creation, launch, or expansion of equity-based, cluster-focused seed funds that invest regionally-managed risk capital in regionally-based startups with a potential for high growth. The SFS Grants Competition will provide funding for development, creation, or expansion of new or existing equity-based seed funds that increase one or more regional innovation clusters’, innovators’, and entrepreneurs’ access to early-stage capital. Proposed projects may aim for some or all of the following outputs and outcomes or others, as appropriate in light of each given proposed project’s regional, sectoral, and economic contexts: Early-Stage Capital Support for Innovation-Based, Growth-Oriented Companies; Increased Regional Fund Management Capacity; Plan for Sustainability; Demonstrated Ecosystem and Downstream Support.

Amount: Funding will be distributed per program as follows:

  • i6 Challenge Grants: $750,000 federal funds cap with a minimum 1:1 match required
  • Seed Fund Support Grants: $300,000 federal funds cap with a minimum 1:1 match required

Eligibility: States; Indian tribes; a city or other political subdivision of a State; an entity that is a nonprofit organization, an institution of higher education, a public-private partnership, a science or research park, a Federal laboratory, or an economic development organization or similar entity and has an application that is supported by a State or a political subdivision of a State; or a consortium of any of the entities described.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=312519

Note: An informational webinar will be held on February 12, 2019.

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