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Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Public Works 1 $1,600,074
Regional Innovation Strategies 2 $720,477
Planning 6 $490,900
1 $100,000
Total 10 $2,911,451

Every industry sector has a Valley of Death that challenges entrepreneurs in moving new products and technologies swiftly from idea into commerce. Many in the business world have long held that the Valley exists primarily due to a lack of funding to commercialize promising early-stage technologies. The reality, however, is that many early-stage investors simply lack the technical expertise needed to evaluate risk, and, as a consequence, most regions chronically under-invest in early stage companies. This problem is particularly acute in the biomedical field, where barriers to entry— strict regulatory requirements, high startup costs, etc.— can be daunting to even the most seasoned entrepreneur.

Arizona’s formative bioscience investment ecosystem has been jumpstarted by BioAccel, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that provides funding and expertise at each critical stage in the commercialization continuum to entrepreneurs seeking to bring new inventions to market. In recent years, BioAccel has assisted in the development of a robust pipeline of investable companies focused on health informatics and medical devices, but needed additional support to make those companies into reality.

In 2015, EDA awarded $500,000 through the i6 competition to support the expansion of the Southwest Proof of Concept Commercialization Center at BioAccel. The project will enhance the partnership between the biomedical engineering programs at Arizona State University and the University of California at Irvine in order to provide additional technical assistance for its current portfolio of proof of concept projects and companies and to increase the number of trained entrepreneurs who will create the technology business of tomorrow.

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