On November 9, 2023, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that Build to Scale economic revitalization grants totaling $53 million had been awarded to 60 organizations across the country.
Located in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the winning programs support technology entrepreneurs, catalyze innovation, and fuel economic growth. This is the 10th cohort of grantees for this program.
The grants, part of the Build to Scale program administered annually by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), aim to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to entrepreneurial assistance and startup capital.
These EDA investments support innovation industries, such as agriculture technology (agtech), bioscience, advanced manufacturing, blue economy, and health technology, among others.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is Investing in America to help create entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country and put quality, 21st century job opportunities in people’s backyards,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
“The ‘Build to Scale’ program will unlock innovation potential in regions all over the nation, improving our economic competitiveness now, and for decades to come,” she added.
“EDA is proud to partner with this year’s ‘Build to Scale’ grantees as they fuel regional innovation hubs and technology-based economic development strategies throughout the U.S.,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo.
“Investing in scalable startups and expanding access entrepreneurial capital will yield good-paying jobs, economic resiliency, and equitable growth in communities throughout America,” she continued.
The FY23 “Build to Scale” program comprised two competitions––the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. Each challenge had multiple funding tiers that are designed to support organizations at different levels based on their needs, capacity and vision.
The Venture Challenge supports programs that enable high-growth technology entrepreneurship and foster inclusive access to proven entrepreneurship support models.
This competition has three tiers:
- Ignite (to plan and launch new tech-based economic development strategies);
- Build (to pilot or adapt new programs); and,
- Scale (to scale a proven program).
The Capital Challenge increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply. Operational support is provided for early-stage investment funds, networks, and training programs that focus on both traditional and hybrid equity-based financing.
This competition has two tiers: Form (to educate, connect investors and create new funds); and Deploy (to scale and operate equity-based investment funds). These grant funds cannot be used as investment capital.
The 2023 awardees – which include nonprofits, universities, government agencies, and other entrepreneurship-focused organizations – will leverage an additional $55 million in matching funds from an array of private and public sector sources.
2023 Venture Challenge Grant Recipients
- 20Fathoms (Traverse City, MI) – $2 million
- 757 ScaleUp Alliance (Norfolk, VA) – $1.2 million
- Arch Grants (St. Louis, MO) – $750,000
- Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation (Sierra Vista, AZ) – $298,504
- BRF (Shreveport, LA) – $1.3 million
- Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (Brownsville, TX) – $1.2 million
- Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH) – $1.8 million
- Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) – $2 million
- Elevate Rapid City (Rapid City, SD) – $100,494
- Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) – $750,000
- Guilford College (Greensboro, NC) – $218,583
- Jumpstart (Cleveland, OH) – $2 million
- LifeX Holdings (Pittsburgh, PA) – $2 million
- Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA) – $600,000
- Mansfield BioIncubator (Mansfield, MA) – $1.25 million
- Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (Houghton, MI) – $750,000
- Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory (Westminster, MD) – $274,498
- North American Intelligent Manufacturing Initiative (Los Alamos, NM) – $300,000
- Northeastern University (Portland, ME) – $2 million
- Northeastern Vermont Development Association (St. Johnsbury, VT) – $749,947
- Pacific American Foundation (Kailua, HI) – $300,000
- Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (San Juan, PR) – $648,104
- Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation (Rock Hill, SC) – $50,000
- Rocky Mountain Innovation Initiative (Fort Collins, CO) – $2 million
- San Jose State University Research Foundation (San Jose, CA) – $300,000
- South Coast Development Council (Coos Bay, OR) – $300,000
- Southern Research (Birmingham, AL) – $748,469
- Spelman College (Atlanta, GA) – $749,896
- The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (New Haven, CT) – $2 million
- The Idea Village (New Orleans, LA) – $2 million
- University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR) – $1.2 million
- University of Missouri at Kansas City (Kansas City, MO) – $2 million
- University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha, NE) – $637,710
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV) – $749,037
- University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK) – $1.9 million
- University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI) – $1.2 million
- University Lab Partners (Irvine, CA) – $2 million
- Urban Partnerships Community Development Corporation (Houston, TX) – $741,925
- Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (West Lafayette, IN) – $1 million
- Washington Maritime Blue (Seattle, WA) – $840,810
2023 Capital Challenge Grant Recipients
- Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern Pennsylvania (State College, PA) – $412,598
- BRF (Shreveport, LA) – $655,436
- Center on Rural Innovation (Hartland, VT) – $260,379
- Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (Indianapolis, IN) – $400,000
- City and County of Denver (Denver, CO) – $750,000
- Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation (Cape Girardeau, MO) – $321,000
- Community Investment Corporation (Tucson, AZ) – $300,000
- Delaware Innovation Space (Wilmington, DE) – $750,000
- Entrepreneurs Center (Dayton, OH) – $400,000
- Evergreen Climate Innovations (Chicago, IL) – $750,000
- Greentown Labs (Houston, TX) – $400,000
- Gulf of Maine Research Institute (Portland, ME) – $669,433
- Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs (Jackson, WY) – $168,500
- Michigan Technological University (Houghton, MI) – $400,000
- Tampa Bay Wave (Tampa, FL) – $396,000
- The Enterprise Institute (Brookings, SD) – $364,577
- University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA) – $750,000
- University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY) – $749,795
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, NV) – $400,000
- University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Edinburg, TX) – $744,422
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.
Photo of Brownsville, Texas (one of the winners) courtesy of the City of Brownsville.