U.S. Economic Development Administration: Build To Scale (B2S)
The Build to Scale Program (B2S) builds regional economies through scalable startups with a portfolio of grant competitions, including the Venture Challenge and Capital Challenge. The program aims to increase the capacities of regions to plan and implement ecosystems that support innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups that are growing technology-driven businesses, creating high-skill, high-wage jobs, and building the industries of the future. Current opportunities are detailed below.
(1) Venture Challenge seeks to advance technology-based economic development and through regional innovation ecosystems that promote the commercialization of new technologies, strengthen growing industry clusters, and lead to the expansion of high-paying economic opportunities in communities, regions, or combinations of regions. Grants are awarded to organizations that enable startups to become the next generation of globally competitive, industry-leading companies and support regions in overcoming barriers that prevent would-be innovators from accessing these opportunities.
This competition offers two funding levels—Build and Scale—designed for grantees to implement programming that reflects the maturity and capacity of their respective innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Competitive applications will demonstrate the ability to generate sustainable added value for the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by:
- leveraging unique opportunities to accelerate existing technology-driven industry clusters;
- encouraging technology transfer, innovation, commercialization, and adoption;
- unlocking talent, capital, and other resources that, if left untapped, would inhibit regional innovation capacity and resilience; and
- supporting cluster-aligned companies in expanding access to high-quality jobs.
(2) The Capital Challenge seeks to increase access to capital, particularly in communities where there is a limited supply of equity-based funding and a demonstrated opportunity to invest in technology-based businesses aligned with growing industry and technology clusters. Awards provide programmatic and operational support for the formation, launch, or scale of investment funds that seek to invest in scalable startups. This includes eligible entities that work to identify, educate, and connect groups of investors (e.g. angel networks) to facilitate access to equity-based capital within a community, region, or regional industry. These grant funds cannot be used as investment capital.
This competition offers two funding levels—Form and Deploy—designed to catalyze the development and growth of regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems and address barriers to accessing equity-based capital. Competitive applications will demonstrate the ability to generate sustainable value for the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by:
- expanding the supply and investment of equity-based capital focused on technology startups;
- increasing the number of regional equity investment managers;
- developing dealflow, conducting due diligence, and closing investment deals; and
- introducing new equity-based investment opportunities that increase access to capital for entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs.
- Venture Challenge: $38,000,000 is available to make awards that range up to $750,000; the maximum federal share of each Venture Challenge Scale award is $2,000,000.
- Capital Challenge: $7,000,000 is available to make awards that range up to $300,000; the maximum federal share of each Capital Challenge Deploy award is $750,000.
A match of 1:1 is required for all challenges.
Eligibility: States; tribes; city or political subdivision of a state; an entity whose application is supported by a State or a political subdivision of a state and that is a—nonprofit, institution of higher education, public-private partnership, science or research park, federal laboratory, venture development organization, economic development organization or similar entity, or consortiums.
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