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Year in Review: EDA's Five Most Popular Stories of 2020

Year in Review: EDA's Five Most Popular Stories of 2020 The following press releases, blogs, success stories and webinars generated the most attention on EDA’s website in 2020 and encompass our mission to create conditions for economic growth and opportunity for all Americans.

#1 – U.S. Department of Commerce Launches $25 Million SPRINT Challenge to address Coronavirus Pandemic through Entrepreneurship and Innovation

#2 – U.S. Economic Development Administration and Indiana University Launch New USA Opportunity Zones Tool

#3 – U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $35 Million to Fuel High-Growth Entrepreneurship Across America

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EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund Program Helps Bakers Move from Kitchen to Front Office

Upper Crust Bakery and Eatery in Chico, California When the Food Network visited Chico, California’s Upper Crust Bakery and Eatery for a 2019 episode of its popular series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” viewers got a taste of some of the signature dishes, like black bean chili with jalapeño cheese corn muffin, that have long earned the Upper Crust rave reviews from locals.

Upper Crust’s recent notoriety was no accident: it is the result of the hard work and talent of a husband and wife team of restaurateurs, who have also received support from EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program, which provides gap financing to businesses that cannot otherwise obtain traditional bank loans.

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Purdue University Northwest Leverages EDA Innovation Grant to Help Entrepreneurs Manufacture and Bring Products to Market

Michelle Pearson, of Merrillville, Indiana, is an entrepreneur who invented OSMORE, the automated communion server. Michelle Pearson’s idea for an invention came to her in a dream, but the reality of bringing her product to market proved to be a bit more challenging.

Pearson’s invention is an automated communion server, which would automatically dispense the wafer and wine during the Eucharist for Christians in churches, hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities. A 63-year-old retired teacher, Pearson spent thousands of dollars and drew on the expertise of her large family to build a prototype, but they were unable to bring the product to market.

It wasn’t until Pearson connected with Purdue University Northwest’s Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center (CMEC) in Hammond, Indiana that her idea came to life.

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Spotlight on Commerce: Andrew Fiddes, Attorney Advisor, Disaster Recovery Program, Office of Chief Counsel, U.S. Economic Development Administration

ALT_TAG Guest blog post by Andrew Fiddes, Attorney Advisor, Disaster Recovery Program, Office of Chief Counsel, U.S. Economic Development Administration

I am an Attorney-Advisor in the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Office of Chief Counsel, where I support the Disaster Recovery Program, including EDA’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Recovery Assistance. My work includes pre-award review of grants for legal sufficiency and resolving legal issues in post-award implementation and monitoring. Though I have worked with offices throughout EDA, I primarily support EDA’s Austin and Philadelphia Regional Offices.

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Spotlight: Celebrating the Economic Impact of Opportunity Zones Across the U.S.

President Trump Discussing Opportunity Zones at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, DC EDA is proud of its role in bolstering the American economy through its Opportunity Zones work. To date, EDA has invested more than $750 million in more than 500 Opportunity Zone projects across the country.

Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development and job growth in economically-distressed communities across the country.

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Success Story: EDA Innovation Investment Supports Textile Manufacturing in North Carolina

Students in class at Catawba Valley Community College Manufacturing Center, Hickory, North Carolina In 2019, Catawba Valley Community College received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to leverage resources for cutting-edge innovation and entrepreneurship at MSC, which is based in Conover, N.C. The college matched the grant with $750,000 in local funds.

The grant, awarded through EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program (now known as Build to Scale), has allowed MSC to expand its support for small businesses looking to manufacture their textiles.

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Highlight: EDA Investment in Kentucky Opportunity Zone to Provide Workforce Training and Job Creation in Manufacturing Sector

Joel Frushone with state and local elected officials and Kentucky Community and Technical College System faculty, Hazard, Kentucky On October 8, Joel Frushone, Director of EDA’s Office of External Affairs and Communications announced a $3.9 million grant to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to renovate an existing building at Hazard Community & Technical College to house its new Advanced Manufacturing and Construction Center of Excellence. The event was broadcast via Facebook Live.

By utilizing land once reliant on coal mining, Kentucky Community and Technical College System is using one of Kentucky’s 144 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone in a progressive manner to diversify its workforce.

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Spotlight on Commerce: Juan Bauza, Economic Development Representative for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Economic Development Administration

Juan Bauza, Economic Development Representative for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Economic Development Administration My name is Juan Bauza and I’m the Economic Development Representative (EDR) for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Philadelphia Regional Office. My main responsibilities are to build strategic economic development partnerships and develop meaningful projects within EDA’s program portfolio that result in job creation/retention, private investment leveraged, and above all, projects that stimulate long-term economic vitality.

In addition to my EDR role, I currently also serve as EDA’s Field Coordinator for the Economic Recovery Support Function under FEMA’s National Disaster Recovery Framework in support of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma disaster recovery efforts.

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EDA Investments Advance Economic Recovery in American Communities Impacted by Natural Disasters

Flooding after hurricane in North Carolina EDA has a long history of supporting locally-led disaster recovery and resiliency efforts.

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA leads the Economic Recovery Support Function (PDF) under the Federal Government’s National Disaster Recovery Framework. In this role, EDA facilitates the effective delivery of federal economic development assistance to support long-term economic recovery planning and project implementation in communities across the nation.

EDA is uniquely positioned to coordinate regional disaster recovery efforts in partnership with its extensive network of Economic Development Districts, University Centers, and other state and local partners in disaster-impacted areas.

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EDA Investment Advances Locally-Driven Strategy to Establish Flood-Resilient Business Sites in Viroqua, Wisconsin

Viroqua Business Park site The new Viroqua Business District is nearly complete and an agreement was finalized in August to welcome its first new business.

The business district, located in Viroqua in western Wisconsin’s Vernon County, offers “shovel-ready” development sites for light industrial, commercial retail and commercial non-retail businesses.

The project received a $2.6 million EDA grant in April 2019 to help the city develop business sites that would be more resilient to natural disasters, with a focus on flood prevention. The grant was matched with $660,000 in local funds.

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