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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Commerce Department Invests Nearly $1.7 Million to Support Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Rhode Island

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a nearly $1.7 million grant to the Newport County Development Council of Newport, Rhode Island, to help establish a technology business incubator that will foster start-ups. According to grantee estimates, this project will create 108 jobs.

“The Obama Administration is committed to supporting entrepreneurs and helping foster American innovation,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The EDA investment announced today supports the development of a facility to provide the space and assistance to help Newport, Rhode Island-area entrepreneurs and start-ups in a variety of fields grow.”

“This is great news for Newport that will help diversify and energize our economy, further cementing Aquidneck Island as a key hub for research, development, technology, and innovation. This new innovation center will be a great resource for the business community and budding entrepreneurs. It will help harness some of the high wattage institutional brain power we have in the area -- from Naval Station Newport, to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), to URI – and foster new partnerships to help launch high-tech ventures. I commend the City of Newport and the Newport County Development Council and their partners for putting together a winning proposal. This type of collaboration can help spark new ventures and accelerate the commercialization and deployment of new products and concepts,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of Appropriations Committee, who helped secure $232 million for EDA programs in the fiscal year 2014 Appropriations bill.

“Rhode Island has a rich tradition of innovation, from the dawn of the American Industrial Revolution at Slater Mill to the technology and design businesses throughout our state today,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This project will leverage our defense, marine trades, and technology industries to grow our economy and create jobs. I was happy to lend my support for this funding, and I am very pleased to see further investment in the Sheffield School Technology Incubator.”

EDA’s investment will support the redevelopment of a former 33,600-square-foot Sheffield public school (513 Broadway) into a technology-business incubator, accelerator, and innovation center. The state-of-the-art facility will be designed to meet LEED standards and is intended to also support defense, marine, climate change, environmental, and digital industry clusters and entrepreneurs.

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.