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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $23 Million to Fuel High-Growth Entrepreneurship Across America

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that 44 organizations — including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations — from 28 states and two territories will receive grants totaling $23 million to create and expand high-growth entrepreneurship and increase access to capital for communities across America. The grants are made annually under the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program competition. The 2019 awardees will leverage an additional $26 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources.

Selected from a pool of 183 applicants, this year’s awardees include a new impact investing effort managed by the Halcyon in Washington, D.C that will increase access to capital for social entrepreneurs in the D.C. region, a space technology commercialization project led by the Maui Economic Development Board in Hawaii that will expand entrepreneurship training and STEM-focused career pathway curriculum, and a biomedical healthcare and bioscience initiative led by Cincinnati Children’s Impact Investment Fund in Ohio that will increase access to early stage capital for emerging biomedical companies in the Greater Cincinnati Region. In addition, projects in federally-designated Opportunity Zones will bring capital and opportunity to communities bypassed by recent economic growth.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are an indispensable part of the American economic success story, and the Trump Administration is pursuing an agenda that will ensure the U.S. remains a leader in both areas,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These projects will spark innovation across the country and will build on the beneficial environment the Trump Administration is creating for American businesses.”

The full list of 2019 i6 grantees can be found here.

The 2019 Seed Fund Support Program grantees can be found here.

For more information, please also see our 2019 i6 Challenge blog post and 2019 Seed Fund Support Program blog post.

The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), housed within EDA, leads the RIS Program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. The program is authorized through the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
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.

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