EDA Entrepreneur Program Seeks Innovative Ideas

May 11, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

business-card-1525590Earlier this year, we discussed a grant program that focused on the word “resilience.” This time, we’ll focus on a grant program highlighting a different key word: Innovation. And as it turns out, the city of New Orleans is a recipient in both cases.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is providing grants to help entrepreneurs in underserved communities “put their dreams into action.” According to a recent blog post from EDA, “entrepreneurship and innovation are essential drivers of our nation’s economic prosperity.”

EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program encourages innovation capacity-building activities in regions nationwide through two grant opportunities — the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support Grants. The i6 Challenge is a national competition for startup creation, innovation and commercialization. The Seed Fund Support Grants provide funds for technical assistance to support feasibility, planning, formation or launch of equity-based seed capital funds that are offered to innovative, growth-oriented start-up companies.

Last year, the RIS Program provided $500,000 to the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC) through an i6 Challenge grant to support increased commercialization in the region’s growing life science cluster and to provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs in Louisiana. According to the EDA blog, NOBIC has scaled its assistance to entrepreneurs by engaging a greater number of businesses, providing workshops, networking and resources to entrepreneurs, and developing a mentorship network to provide additional leadership to rising startups. Since receiving the funding, NOBIC has assisted 42 companies supporting 34 full-time positions, raising more than $15.2 million in capital.

Interested parties should be aware that EDA recently released a federal funding opportunity for the 2016 round of RIS Program funding, which will close on June 24. EDA has supported more than 100 regional innovation initiatives across the country. Yours could be next.

Let us know what you think about these innovative entrepreneur programs. We’d like to hear from you.

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