EDA: 50 Recipients of “Build to Scale” Program Announced

Grantee Projects Fuel Innovation and Tech-Based Economic Development to Enhance American Competitiveness on the Global Stage

Today, 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 tech-based economic development.

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 Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. 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 was comprised of 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

2021 Capital Challenge Grant Recipients

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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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