Cleveland Water Alliance


Cleveland, OH


Build to Scale Program

Capital Challenge


Project Name

Freshwater Economy Seed Fund


Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match




This EDA award will support the creation and launch of the Freshwater Economy Seed Fund (Seed Fund). Through this initiative, Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA) will harness its role as the leading Great Lakes freshwater technology cluster, convener, and implementor to identify technologies, engage and educate investors, explore program related investments by regional philanthropic and community foundation partners, and provide capital and technical assistance to bring freshwater technologies to market, and drive an inclusive and vibrant freshwater economic ecosystem. Innovators don’t have access to sophisticated investors who understand the economic opportunity in freshwater. The Seed Fund expands on CWA’s Blue Economy Innovation Initiative, which developed a set of freshwater accelerator testbeds within two environments (watershed, utility), and expanded CWA’s Open Innovation Challenge programming to convene customers and entrepreneurs around key challenges and opportunities in the freshwater sector. CWA has built a community of practice of innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, utilities, and manufacturers to test and demonstrate freshwater solutions in the Lake Erie Basin. By building a network of informed investors and connecting them to proven freshwater solutions identified through the Freshwater Economy Community of Practice, this EDA investment will help to grow a robust freshwater innovation ecosystem in the Lake Erie Basin.