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March 2021

Spotlight: UF Innovate Collaboratory for Women Innovators Helps Florida Woman Empower People of All Ages to Navigate Technology with Ease

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Ming Yang appears on the Kelly Clarkson Show to promote Orchard

Before the coronavirus pandemic, about 80 aspiring beauticians attended classes at Dymond Designs Beauty School in downtown Detroit to learn about cosmetology, esthetics, manicuring, and natural hair cultivation.

Keeping up with technology can be a challenge even for those who use it on a day-to-day basis. Older adults often face additional challenges in a world that is increasingly dependent on new forms of technology.

Ming Yang is a 25-year-old from Florida who serves as a caregiver for her mother. She is often called upon to help navigate the online world of health insurance, completing necessary applications.

“My mother didn’t know how to use her computer and emails and upload documents,” Yang said. “That’s when I realized that, in this day and age, not knowing how to use computers in whatever capacity means not really experiencing and moving forward in life.”

Yang reasoned that if her mother needed technology assistance, there were probably other senior adults in the same situation.

After graduating from the University of Florida (UF) with an engineering degree, Yang sought help with her idea. She received critical business advise from the UF Innovate Collaboratory for Women Innovators, an Economic Development Administration University Center program, and she received seed money from entering – and winning 2nd place – in the UF Engineering Institute’s “Big Idea” competition.

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Success Story: Minnesota Economic Development District Executive Director Strives for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Economic Development

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Nicole Griensewic, Executive Director of Region Nine Development Commission in Mankato, Minnesota

Region Nine Development Commission (RNDC) is an EDA-designated Economic Development District (EDD) focused on fostering economic development in a nine-county region in southern Minnesota.

Located in Mankato, RNDC’s service area is predominantly white but quickly diversifying. To address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues, RNDC infuses these efforts into its economic development work.

“It’s not just an addendum chapter or vague language in a plan. Rather, we incorporate DEI principles into all the work that we are doing,” said Nicole Griensewic, Executive Director of RNDC.

In 2015, as the population became more diverse, Griensewic was questioned about how RNDC planned to incorporate the changing demographics into their plans to deal with equity gaps.

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Highlight: Woman-led EDA University Center Is Making Entrepreneurship Easier in Kansas City

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UMKC Innovation Center Logo

It’s not just the barbecue or the championship-caliber NFL team that Kansas City is known for – the metro area is also recognized as a top city for entrepreneurs. Leading the charge is the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Innovation Center.

The Innovation Center is part of the Economic Development Administration’s University Center (UC) program. The UC program makes universities' resources – including research, outreach, and technology – available to the regional economic development community.

UMKC’s Innovation Center is a long-term partner with EDA in economic development as a UC. In the Kansas City area, the Innovation Center is a key resource for aspiring and existing businesses.

“It’s a major outreach program into the community, and we help people start and grow businesses,” Maria Meyers, Executive Director of the UMKC Innovation Center said.

Click here to read more.

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Gina M. Raimondo Sworn in as 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo

On March 3, 2021, Gina M. Raimondo was sworn in as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce by Vice President Kamala Harris. In her role as Secretary of Commerce, Secretary Raimondo will lead a key agency focused on promoting economic growth. Read more.


EDA “Economic Recovery and Success” Roundtable

Economic Recovery and Success Roundtable

On March 3, EDA hosted a virtual, open press “Economic Recovery and Success” roundtable to spotlight efforts being undertaken by current EDA grantees as they strive to respond to and recover from the coronavirus pandemic and highlight how additional federal funding is critical to advancing the nation’s full economic recovery. EDA grantees informed attendees how EDA supplemental funding has been critical to advancing their locally developed coronavirus pandemic response and recovery strategies. Check out the recording of the event!


Build to Scale Program Applications Due April 29, 2021

Build to Scale Graphic

Applications are due on April 29, for EDA’s $38 million Build to Scale Program to fuel tech-based economic development in regional economies.

For more information, please visit EDA website’s Build to Scale page and apply now!


EDA Publishes Fiscal Year 2021-2023 EDA Planning and Local Technical Assistance Program

Through its Planning and Local Technical Assistance programs, EDA assists eligible recipients in developing economic development plans and studies designed to build capacity and guide the economic prosperity and resiliency of an area or region. The Planning program helps support organizations, including District Organizations, Indian Tribes, and other eligible recipients, with Short Term and State Planning investments designed to guide the eventual creation and retention of high-quality jobs, particularly for the unemployed and underemployed in the Nation’s most economically distressed regions.

Please see the Notice of Funding Opportunity (PDF) for full information on how to apply!


NADO Webinar on EDA Revolving Loan Fund Defederalization Featuring EDA Leadership and Program Staff

EDA / NADO Webinar Recording

Recently, EDA and National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) hosted a webinar about the EDA Revolving Loan Fund Defederalization Process. To view a recording of the webinar, visit NADO’s YouTube page.


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EDA in the News!

Newly sworn-in Commerce Secretary Raimondo pledges to get Americans back to work
NBC News | 3/4/21

Razor Sharp Fitness, O&H Bakery Use ZERO Loan Program
Racine County Eye | 3/8/21

$2.75 million to aid Santa Cruz County distressed businesses
TPG Online Daily | 3/8/21

Garapan revitalization plan modeled after Waikiki’s success
Saipan Tribune | 3/4/21

Cornell Ag and Food Tech Park in Geneva plans expansion after major grant
Finger Lakes 1 News | 3/3/21

ACC receives hefty grant for welding department
WBKB 11 News | 3/2/21

Louisiana ISP Nets $3.1M Federal Grant to Expand Broadband
GovTech | 2/26/21

Lumberton gets $3.1 million federal grant to help build floodgates
The Robesonian | 2/11/21

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