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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Launches $38 Million Build to Scale Program to Fuel Innovation and Tech-Based Economic Development

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the opening of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) FY21 Build to Scale (B2S) program, which is designed to invest in regional economies through scalable startups.

The Build to Scale program’s national competitions will deploy $38 million to further technology-based economic development initiatives that accelerate high-quality job growth, create more economic opportunities, and support the next generation of industry leading companies. The B2S Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) was published today, and the deadline to apply for the program is April 29, 2021.

“For years, the Build to Scale program has strengthened regional innovation hubs through entrepreneurship and increased access to capital, growing businesses and jobs of the future,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “The Economic Development Administration is excited to build on these efforts with the 2021 program and looks forward to receiving applications from organizations across the country committed to implementing bold and important projects supporting entrepreneurship.”

The FY21 Build to Scale program is comprised of two competitions –– the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. The Venture Challenge seeks to support high-growth entrepreneurship, accelerate company growth in the applicant’s region, and scale proven entrepreneurship support models. 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.

Eligibility is open to cities, counties, states, other political subdivisions of states, and Indian tribes; or entities supported by a state or political subdivision of a state that is one of the following: a nonprofit institution of higher education, public-private partnership, research park, federal lab, venture development organization, an economic development organization, or a consortium of the aforementioned.

The Venture Challenge grants have two funding levels – up to $750,000 to build programs and up to $1.5 million to scale programs. The Capital Challenge offers grants up to $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.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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