Success Story: Innovative EDA Programs Making the News!
March 2016 Newsletter
Under President Obama’s leadership, EDA has been innovating to reflect the current needs of the regions and communities we serve.
For example, since the President took office the agency has accelerated work in support of regional cluster initiatives by reforming and improving programs to support bottom-up regional cluster-based approaches.
Recently, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published a ‘Perspectives’ article written by Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council in Wisconsin entitled, “For economic development, the cluster approach works.” The article cites the growth of vigorous public-private partnerships that have resulted in the Water Council being recognized as a proven cluster initiative that is working to improve the competitiveness of existing industry.
Critically, EDA partnered with The Water Council through our Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program to provide a Seed Fund Support grant that provided catalytic capital for early stage, high growth potential companies focused on commercializing water related technology.
Through RIS, which is managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the grants EDA provides to state and local governments, non-profits, universities, and other organizations are helping to build capacity for entrepreneurs seeking to turn ideas into job creating companies, and helping young companies attract and obtain much-needed capital.
Today, with more than 50 RIS recipients that have competitively earned $20 million in federal funding since 2014, the RIS program is being recognized by media outlets in places like Maine, the Roanoke-Blacksburg region of Virginia, and the Research Triangle of North Carolina as a key program that brings all of the major players in regions together to ensure bright economic futures by advancing competitiveness through innovation.
In addition to RIS, EDA has been leading a number of multi-agency initiatives that are focused on breaking down the bureaucratic silos in Washington to provide communities and regions with a more effective federal partner.
To date, EDA has successfully developed and implemented regional innovation programs resulting in more than 100 regional innovation initiatives across the U.S.
Today, multi-agency initiatives like the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) and the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) programs are helping to transform regions from shore to shore and border to border.
The POWER initiative, for example, has been noted by the nationally-recognized The Hill newspaper as critical to helping coal communities across the nation transition.
Looking to the future, EDA looks forward to continuing initiatives like RIS, IMCP and POWER as part of our ongoing efforts to modernize the way economic development is done in the 21st century.