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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

Commerce's EDA Launches New Website to Accelerate Regional Innovation

Network Connects Venture Development Organizations and Fosters Collaboration to Promote Business Development and Job Creation

Albuquerque, N.M. - Speaking at the U.S. Economic Development Administration's (EDA) Southwest Region Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Albuquerque, N.M., U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez today unveiled a new website to connect Venture Development Organizations (VDO) in America's regions and accelerate economic development efforts that promote growth and job creation. The Regional Innovation Acceleration Network (RIAN) will bring VDOs together to share best practices and leverage resources that will strengthen regional economic ecosystems.

Developed in partnership with the State Science & Technology Institute, the new website –www.regionalinnovation.org - highlights how VDOs are helping entrepreneurs turn their innovations into businesses by providing direct funding and increasing access to capital.

"The Regional Innovation Acceleration Network builds on President Obama's national innovation agenda by bringing Venture Development Organizations within America's regions together to help increase business development and competitiveness," Fernandez said. "Across the nation, these organizations are helping to grow local economies and create jobs, and this new network will enhance their impact and efficiency."

The RIAN offers an interactive map designed to help economic development practitioners identify their regional innovation colleagues, where they operate, and connect with them. To facilitate the growth of existing innovation networks, the website provides technical assistance; and for those regions where networks have yet to develop, it provides the means for peer-to-peer sharing of information between existing and emerging VDOs.

VDO's are non-profit, business driven partnership organizations that include government, community foundations, universities and civic organizations that work together to promote technology and innovation-based development. They provide a multifaceted portfolio of services tailored to address the specific needs of the regional economy, helping to create 21st century jobs.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania is one of many examples of a successful VDO that is boosting economic growth and job opportunities in its community. The organization invests in early stage technology entrepreneurs to help create sustainable technology jobs. They are currently expanding their Ben Franklin TechVentures facility in Lehigh Valley to support more innovative research and cutting-edge ideas. The project is expected to create up to 200 sustainable, high-paying technology jobs and retain 100 additional jobs at new, start-up companies in its first three years. TechVentures has already launched 44 successful companies, grossing more than $675 million in annual revenue and creating more than 4,000 jobs since 1983.

With the new RIAN, Ben Franklin Technology Partners can share its knowledge and experiences with emerging VDOs and find new partners as it works to foster business growth that supports economic prosperity and jobs in America's regions.

To visit the Regional Innovation Acceleration Network, click here.

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.