On September 30, 2021, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo announced that 50 organizations—including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, state government agencies, and other entrepreneurship-focused organizations—from 26 states will receive grants totaling $36.5 million to support programs that fuel innovation and boost technology-based economic revitalization.
The grants are part of the “Build to Scale” program, which is administered annually by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The program aims to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to business support and startup capital.
“The ‘Build to Scale’ program strengthens entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country that are essential in the Biden Administration’s efforts to build back better,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This work is critical in developing the innovation and entrepreneurship our country needs to build back better and increase American competitiveness on the global stage.”
Castillo announced the “Build to Scale” grantees at TechTown Detroit, an entrepreneurial incubator and accelerator in Detroit, Michigan, that is one of the 2021 recipients of the grants.
Representatives from Automation Alley, an Industry 4.0 knowledge center in Troy, Michigan, that also received a 2021 grant, joined the event, along with local dignitaries.
“EDA is proud to support this year’s ‘Build to Scale’ grantees as they fuel regional innovation hubs throughout the country,” said Castillo. “Investing in scalable startups and creating access to capital will yield more economic opportunities and support the next generation of industry-leading companies. This is the type of vital work that President Biden’s build back better agenda promises to continue to support.”
The 2021 awardees will leverage an additional $40 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources.
These EDA investments support aerospace, agtech, blue economy, bioscience, advanced manufacturing and health technology clusters in regions throughout the U.S. and will lead to stronger, more resilient economies across the country.
The FY21 Build to Scale program comprises two competitions: the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge.The Venture Challenge seeks to leverage regional competitive strengths to accelerate innovation and job creation through high-growth technology entrepreneurship and fostering inclusive access to proven entrepreneurship support models.
For example, grantee Automation Alley will use their grant to expand its Michigan Industry 4.0 (MI4.0) Accelerator, which provides resources to support startups developing Industry 4.0 technologies to digitize manufacturing and to support Michigan’s manufacturers in adopting these technologies.
The Capital Challenge increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply by providing operational support for early-stage investment funds, angel capital networks, or investor training programs that focus on both traditional and hybrid equity-based models. For example, TechTown Detroit will use its grant to recruit and train 200 angel investors to support the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with the goal of supporting 50 projects, totaling $34.7 million in early-stage capital.
2021 Venture Challenge Grant Recipients
36 Degrees North, Tulsa, OK, $374,608
Ada Jobs Foundation, Ada, OK, $583,153
Arizona Commerce Authority, Phoenix, AZ, $750,000
Auburn University, Auburn, AL, $657,622
Automation Alley, Troy, MI, $1.3 million
Bioscience & Technology Business Center, Lawrence, KS, $1.5 million
Center for Advancing Innovation, Bethesda, MD, $944,730
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati, OH, $1.5 million
City University of New York, The City College, New York, NY, $750,000
Discovery Partners Institute, Chicago, IL, $1.5 million
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis, MO, $1.5 million
Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO, $748,624
FuzeHub, Albany, NY, $753,546
Georgia Tech Research Corporation, Atlanta, GA, $1.3 million
Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland, ME, $749,815
Launch NY, Buffalo, NY, $750,000
LaunchBio, Dallas, TX, $750,000
Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA, $1.5 million
Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, Louisville, KY, $750,000
Maryland Clean Energy Center, College Park, MD , $750,000
MATTER, Chicago, IL, $1.3 million
Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, $742,787
Ohio Aerospace Institute, Brook Park, OH, $750,000
Rev1 Ventures, Columbus, OH, $1.4 million
Shenandoah Community Capital Fund, Staunton, VA, $750,000
Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT, $749,334
Texas Research and Technology Foundation, San Antonio, TX, $715,479
University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, $929,492
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, $750,000
University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, $1.5 million
Washington Technology Industry Association, Issaquah, WA, $315,005
Weber State University, Ogden, UT, $749,175
Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, $750,000
2021 Capital Challenge Grant Recipients
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, Brattleboro, VT, $250,000
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, $400,000
Dimension Mill, Bloomington, IN, $399,650
Elevate Ventures, Indianapolis, IN, $400,000
Emerging Prairie, Fargo, ND, $224,628
Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, Erie, PA, $325,320
Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, Fresno, CA, $400,000
Idea Foundry, Pittsburgh, PA, $250,000
Innovation Marquette Enterprise Corporation, Marquette, MI, $305,465
NOLA Business Alliance, New Orleans, LA, $400,000
NXTUS, Wichita, KS, $350,000
Startup Tucson, Tucson, AZ, $297,990
TechTown Detroit, Detroit, MI, $400,000
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX, $346,079
Tulsa Community Foundation, Tulsa, OK, $266,805
University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD, $333,084
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, $400,000
EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship administers the “Build to Scale” program, which is authorized under Section 27 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Act.
All images are courtesy of TechTown Detroit.