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Regional Innovation Strategies: From Idaho to Puerto Rico, EDA awards over $16m to support local capacity for high-tech innovation and job creation

EDA Logo EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is adding 24 exciting new i6 Challenge projects to its Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program portfolio. Together with 16 new Seed Fund Support awards, EDA is catalyzing a new cohort of capacity-building projects in its diverse RIS portfolio, which has already created over 8,200 jobs and $1 billion in follow-on capital during the program’s first four years of operation.

The 2018 RIS Notice of Funding Opportunity brought in 160 i6 Challenge applications from across the nation. EDA designed the i6 Challenge to increase productivity and accelerate growth through entrepreneurship that translates innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and applied research into new businesses, accelerated paths to export, increased foreign direct investment, and new jobs.

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Regional Innovation Strategies: EDA invests $5m to expand access to early-stage risk capital coast-to-coast and everywhere in between

EDA Logo EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship just announced its newest Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program Seed Fund Support (SFS) awards. EDA is adding these 16 awards, along with 24 new i6 Challenge awards, to its existing portfolio of 140 investments that have created over 8,200 jobs and $1 billion in follow-on capital during the program’s first four years of operation.

The annual SFS competition provides funding for technical assistance and operational costs that support the planning, formation, launch, or scale of cluster-based seed funds that will invest their capital in innovation-based startups with a potential for high growth. The 2018 cohort of SFS grantees was selected from 73 applicants who responded to the competitive 2018 RIS Notice of Funding Opportunity, and represent 15 different states from coast-to-coast and in the heartland.

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Spotlight: Celebrating Manufacturing and National Hispanic Heritage Months

Manufacturing Day October 5th kicked off Manufacturing Month with Manufacturing Day, a day to recognize the progress the U.S. has made on its growing manufacturing revival. The Trump Administration is celebrating this month by focusing on leveling the playing field and encouraging innovative opportunities to create more jobs across the country. According to an op-ed written by U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross, since January 2017, the manufacturing sector has added 348,000 jobs, with year-over-year manufacturing job growth in 2018 increasing at the fastest rate since 1995. In 2017, U.S. manufacturers produced over $6 trillion in gross output, nearing the largest production values on record.

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Success Story: Swift Factory Food Hub Incubator and Manufacturing Facility Helps to Revitalize Hartford’s North End

The Swift Factory Groundbreaking Ceremony When Hartford, Connecticut’s Swift Factory closed its doors in 2005, the city lost a large business anchor. M. Swift & Sons, a leading source of gold leafing for state capitol buildings and historic landmarks across the country, was housed in the Swift Factory for 120 years. It employed many citizens in Hartford’s struggling north end neighborhood. In 2017, EDA awarded $2.8 million to non-profit company Community Solutions, Inc to revitalize the vacant industrial building.

Renovations on the Swift Factory began this past summer, and development of a brand-new 19,000 square-foot food manufacturing center and business incubator is currently underway. The Swift Community Food and Business Development Center will bring economic opportunity and prosperity to the north end of the city. The neighborhood is predominantly African-American and Latino, and the revitalized Center will provide new life to the community through new jobs and opportunities for local residents to gain skills they need to grow and progress.

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Highlight: Port of Brownsville in Texas Receives $1.8 Million to Make Infrastructure Improvements that are Expected to Help Create Over 700 Manufacturing-Related Jobs

Port of Brownsville Founded in 1936 and currently the only deep-water port located on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Port of Brownsville handles a wide variety of cargo including steel products, liquid, break bulk, and dry bulk commodities. With the facilities and knowledge to handle international cargo, the port facilitates efficient movement of goods between the United States and Mexico. This enables the promotion of international and retail trade, tourism, and manufacturing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

With the help of EDA’s investment, the port will now be better able to assist partners in the ship building industry and future companies with their construction and cargo operations needs. New economic opportunities at the Port of Brownsville will diversify capabilities and opportunities, increase the Rio Grande Valley’s economic vitality, and help expand the U.S. manufacturing industry.

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South Texas Educational Attainment Study to Increase Workforce Development Opportunities

In 2017, the South Texas Development Council joined EDA’s VISTA Corps program and selected VISTA Member Angela Bonner to address educational attainment and workforce development capacity needs for South Texas. Bonner was assigned to meet and work with community members to identify community needs through data collection and by assisting in the development of a comprehensive plan outlining resources to support local workforce development efforts.

Throughout her service year, Bonner has gathered quantitative and qualitative data to gain better insights on the community. She developed and conducted surveys with community members to identify social and economic barriers prohibiting educational attainment. She has also conducted a number of interviews with educational institutions, local business, city officials, and community stakeholders.

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Spotlight: As One-Year Anniversaries Are Marked, EDA Assists Hurricane Impacted Communities with Disaster Recovery

Angela Bonner speaks with community resident in South Texas This month, we mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria that devastated parts of Texas, the Southeast U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Over the past year, EDA’s regional offices have been working closely with Economic Development Districts (EDDs), federal, state and local officials and other partners in areas impacted by the hurricanes to assist with economic recovery and growth. Supporting local efforts to boost businesses is a major priority for EDA, and we are proud to assist our nation in building back better and stronger.

As the coordinator of the Economic Recovery Support Function (ERSF) under the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), EDA deployed to four hurricane-impacted locations simultaneously.

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Success Story: EDA Investments in Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Programs for Regions Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

EDA  Economic Recovery Workshop Hurricane Harvey hit southeast Texas as a Category 4 storm on August 25, 2017. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated that Harvey was “the most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event” in U.S. history with up to 48-60 inches of rain over five days. 300,000 structures were flooded, the storm surge crested at over seven feet, and winds in excess of 130 mph caused significant damage. Current estimates place the total damage from Hurricane Harvey at $125 billion, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. The Presidential Disaster Declaration included 41 counties for individual assistance and 53 counties for public assistance.

For Hurricane Harvey, EDA’s Austin Regional Office (AURO) recognized that economic recovery activities should be led locally, devoting both staffing and Economic Development Assistance Program (EDAP) resources to this task.

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Highlight: One Year After Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Long-Term Recovery Planning Activity Boosts Puerto Rico’s Economic Development

Debris in the wake of a hurricane One year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, much is still being done to rebuild and revitalize the communities that suffered from the storms. With more resources and unwavering commitment to helping rebuild after these natural disasters, EDA’s focus on the area is as strong as ever.

EDA has contributed by making several recent FY18 Disaster Supplemental investments in Puerto Rico to support technical assistance, entrepreneurial programs, manufacturing, tourism, and research and development. These grants are project to save or create over 1200 jobs.

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