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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Economic Development Administration and Appalachian Regional Commission Announce $3.4 Million in Investments to Build Critical Business Infrastructure and Foster Entrepreneurship in Tennessee

U.S. Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. Applauds Investments to Provide Critical, Job-Creating Infrastructure and Entrepreneurial Training in Tennessee

WASHINGTON — U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine and Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Earl Gohl today traveled to Maryville, Loudon, and Knoxville, Tennessee, to announce $3.4 million in federal investments to provide critical new infrastructure and entrepreneurial training that will spur business development and job growth in Tennessee. The grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) are expected to create more than 380 new jobs and spur more than $90 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“The EDA co-investments announced today will catalyze local, bottom-up plans to grow the Tennessee economy,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Erskine. “These EDA grants will provide critical business infrastructure that will assist entrepreneurs, thereby supporting job growth and business development in several Tennessee cities.”

“The investments that ARC and EDA are making in Appalachian Tennessee will help lay the foundation for a more vibrant rural economy,” said Federal Co-Chair Gohl. “The ARC grants funding the operation of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Biz Foundry are important steps to this end, helping grow ideas into viable businesses in an accelerated fashion. As a result, these businesses will be able to build their revenue streams and create jobs faster than they could on their own.”

“This year I was honored to be named the top champion of rural America in the 435-member House of Representatives for my efforts supporting and defending smaller communities,” said U.S. Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. “I have always rooted for the little guy or the underdog in life. It is very important to stand up for small towns and rural areas because they do not have the resources of larger towns and cities, and they are losing population all across America. I am so pleased the EDA and ARC have recognized Loudon and Blount Counties and Launch TN with these grants.”

The $3.4 million in investments announced today include:

  • A $1.4 million EDA grant to the Industrial Development Board of Blount County, Maryville, Tennessee, to extend roadway in the Pellissippi Place industrial park to support the location of ProNova, a company that develops, produces, and delivers proton therapy systems for treating cancer patients. The investment is expected to create 205 new jobs and generate $21 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

  • The location of ProNova was strongly influenced by Pellissippi Place’s location in Tennessee’s Innovation Valley, a five-county region that includes a technology innovation cluster, the University of Tennessee, and The Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

  • A $1.5 million EDA grant to the Loudon Utilities Board of Loudon, Tennessee, to provide expanded electrical capacity at the Sugarlimb Industrial Park. The investment is expected to help create 178 new jobs and result in $70 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

  • The EDA investment supports Tennessee’s Innovation Valley, a regional economic development partnership that supports Knoxville and Oak Ridge. Specifically, the grant funds the construction of a new electrical substation in the Sugarlimb Industrial Park. This will meet the park’s needs for future growth, since all electrical distribution lines in the area are at capacity. By providing more reliable electrical service, the new substation will reduce exposure to electric service disturbances and allow the industrial park to attract and retain businesses in growing industries, including materials science, nanotechnology, and carbon fiber technology.

  • Two Appalachian Regional Commission grants of $250,000 to Launch TN, one for the work of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and one for The Biz Foundry, to foster entrepreneurship in East Tennessee through education, mentoring, linking with investors, and general technical support. Technical assistance under the two grants will be provided in part by Tech20/20.

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.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov)
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.