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Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Economic Adjustment Assistance 2 $3,087,340
Planning 6 $1,008,000
1 $128,592
Total 9 $4,223,932

The city of Huntsville has a vibrant economy, and is the heart of one of the fastest growing regions in Alabama. A strong driver of this economic growth and prosperity is research and development in the defense and aerospace sectors, which employ thousands of residents in Huntsville’s 15-county commuter shed. However, the area’s reliance on federal research dollars has exposed significant economic vulnerability. In recent years, deep cuts to the U.S. Department of Defense budget, furloughs, and sequestration have created an economic roller coaster ride for the regional workforce.

In order to make their economy more resilient, Huntsville needed to develop new markets and build on its strengths in research and innovation. In September 2015, EDA awarded $3 million to the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to construct the Innovation to Invention Center (I2C). The I2C will be an incubator/innovation hub and accelerator program that will provide physical facilities and services to support inventors, entrepreneurs, high-tech companies, and partners in the innovation process. Building on that investment, EDA later awarded $500,000 to UAH through the 2015 i6Challenge to fund the Growth & Acceleration of Products (GAP) project. A virtual proof-of-concept center, the GAP project will unite resources at UAH and within the government and high-tech business community to bring "shelved" technologies into the marketplace.

This regional development initiative will leverage UAH assets to grow the region’s innovation capacity. The I2C is projected to result in the creation of 365 new jobs and more than $30 million in private investment. The estimated long-term economic impact includes the creation of 1,460 high-tech jobs, 7,300 indirect jobs for skilled/unskilled labor, and a total wage impact of $453 million by the year 2024.

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