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Year in Review: EDA's Five Most Popular Stories of 2020

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The following press releases, blogs, success stories and webinars generated the most attention on EDA’s website in 2020 and encompass our mission to create conditions for economic growth and opportunity for all Americans.

#1 – U.S. Department of Commerce Launches $25 Million SPRINT Challenge to address Coronavirus Pandemic through Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Oct. 14, 2020 (press release) – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the opening of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) new Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge, which will enable organizations across the country to address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation.

The SPRINT Challenge is a $25 million national competition funded by the CARES Act. EDA seeks projects that aim to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic and future pandemics. The deadline to apply for the Challenge was December 3, 2020.

#2 – U.S. Economic Development Administration and Indiana University Launch New USA Opportunity Zones Tool

Jan. 14, 2020 (press release) – The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), Indiana University and its Kelley School of Business announced the launch of the USA Opportunity Zones tool.

This new web-based tool will help more than 390 EDA-designated Economic Development Districts (EDDs) across the nation, as well as local economic and community developers and investors, target private investment to economically-distressed areas where private investment may be eligible for capital gain tax incentives under the bipartisan Opportunity Zones initiative.

#3 – U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $35 Million to Fuel High-Growth Entrepreneurship Across America

Sept. 16, 2020 (press release) – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that 52 organizations — including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations — from 36 states will receive grants totaling $35 million to support entrepreneurship, acceleration of company growth, and increased access to risk capital across regional economies. The 2020 awardees will leverage an additional $44 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources.

#4 – Success Story: The Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Brings Diverse Economic Growth to Atlanta Opportunity Zone

Feb. 1, 2020 – (success story) In 2017, EDA invested $3 million to fund the design and renovation of the existing 40,000 square-foot, three-story headquarters building. In 2019, EDA made an additional nearly $1.2 million award to expand the Center.

In the heart of one of Atlanta’s 26 Opportunity Zones, which were created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development in economically distressed communities nationwide, The Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship houses affordable coworking, convening, meeting and makerspace. It also offers robust educational, mentoring, networking, and capital resources to help inspire ideas to create jobs, scale companies, and increase wealth in the community.

In total, the new facility provides space for over 100 emerging entrepreneurial companies that can diversify and grow Atlanta’s economy.

#5 – EDA CARES Act Overview Webinar Recording

May 15, 2020 – (EDA webinar) EDA program office leaders provide a detailed overview of the $1.5 billion in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security funding provided to EDA for grant making to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

Applications are still being accepted for EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance. Visit our Coronavirus Web page for details: www.eda.gov/coronavirus.

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