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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Blog Entries from July 2016

NACIE on the Road: Community Sharing of Place-Based Initiatives

The NACIE updates Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on their mid-term progress at Google HQ DC, December 4th, 2015.The U.S. Economic Development Administration's Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) works to grow America’s innovation capacity to drive job growth and competitiveness while promoting economic development.  One powerful tool OIE uses to help accomplish this mission is a Federal advisory council of 25 leaders who advise the Secretary of Commerce on important issues impacting American innovation and entrepreneurship.

Recently, this council—the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (NACIE)—has been studying local entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives. One of its goals has been to identify policies or programs to connect and scale high-impact, place-based initiatives and then to find a way to share those with other communities looking to drive similar outcomes.  The first stop: Nashville, TN, where NACIE held its 2016 spring meeting.

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Highlights: Assistant Secretary Jay Williams Affirms Commitment to the U.S. Virgin Islands During Visit

USVI Business roundtable discussion. On June 27, Assistant Secretary Jay Williams visited the U.S. Virgin Islands where he met with various stakeholders and discussed the island’s economic resiliency in the wake of the loss of more than 2000 jobs following the closure of the Hovensa petroleum refinery.

During the visit, Assistant Secretary Williams also highlighted EDA’s partnership with FreshMinistries by participating in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Agri-Business Economic Development Center.

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Success Story: Digital Sandbox KC Advances Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation in Kansas City

Kansas City-based incubator Digital Sandbox. In 2012, EDA awarded Digital Sandbox KC a $1 million i6 Challenge grant to create a new process for commercialization in Kansas City by clustering digital innovation in a central hub and providing the needed technology infrastructure. In 2015, EDA invested an additional $500,000 in i6 funds to Digital Sandbox KC to help them continue support for early-stage proof-of-concept projects and to help them expand to create a community-wide network of product development and testing resources. 

Digital Sandbox is a perfect example of how the U.S. Department of Commerce and the entire Obama administration are supporting entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country through public-private partnerships. EDA is proud that our i6 investments to support development of Digital Sandbox KC have payed-off handsomely for the Kansas City region.

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Spotlight: NACIE Finishing Strong through the Fourth Quarter

NACIE members meet at the Department of Commerce. On June 16th and 17th, EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) hosted the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) for their seventh and penultimate quarterly meeting.

On the 16th, NACIE members convened in the Department of Commerce library where Assistant Secretary Jay Williams was excited to update them on many of the ways EDA and other bureaus have already leveraged their recommendations to affect policy and programs while also encouraging Council members to finish strong through the “fourth quarter” of their term.

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On the Ground: Economic Development Administration Meets Communities Where They Are

U.S. Map Depicting the Six Regional Offices of the U.S. Economic Development Administration Partnerships are key at the Economic Development Administration (EDA), where our merit-based and competitive grant investments help to fuel economic ecosystems for job creation in communities across the country.

Guided by the basic principle that communities must be empowered to develop and implement their own economic development and revitalization strategies, EDA works directly with local leaders and economic development officials to make grant investments that are well-defined, timely, and linked to a long-term, sustainable economic development strategy.

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Call to Action: Investing in Our Youth

Assistant Secretary Jay Williams meeting the 2016 graduates of Washington, DC’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School No child should be limited by the circumstances into which they were born. No child should feel like they need to “beat the odds” to make it in this country.

I grew up in a working class family in Youngstown, Ohio, a community partly defined by economic distress. But, with the support of not only my family, but my church and community, I did not feel limited by my circumstances. I was afforded opportunities by people who reached back and it was those opportunities that led me to where I am today.

Unfortunately, not all my peers were afforded that support growing up. For decades, opportunity has lagged for boys and young men of color in our country and this is why in 2014, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative.

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