Press Release
April 6, 2021

U.S. Department of Commerce Awards $29 Million in SPRINT Challenge Grants to Respond to Coronavirus Pandemic Through Innovation and Entrepreneurship

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo today announced that a total of $29 million would be awarded to 44 organizations as part of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge.

Last year, the SPRINT Challenge was launched to harness America’s entrepreneurial potential to address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The Biden Administration applauds the SPRINT Challenge awardees’ efforts to pivot to help their communities through difficult times quickly,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “American entrepreneurship and innovation will help our country through this coronavirus pandemic and build back better, stronger, and more resilient.”

Awardees include nonprofits, higher education institutions, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations that demonstrated alignment with their region's economic development priorities. Project scopes range widely and include efforts to scale biotechnology and health security efforts, re-open businesses safely, upskill workers, and boost entrepreneurship. Grant recipients received awards between $200,000 and $750,000.

“The SPRINT Challenge builds on EDA’s efforts to work with communities to build strong regional economies,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Our grantees’ projects are laser-focused on using innovation to help America overcome the economic, health and safety challenges brought on by the pandemic.”

Project highlights include the University of California, Los Angeles’ LA-R2C Accelerator, which aims to scale innovative bioscience technologies that foster COVID-19 prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and health equity; Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation’s project to accelerate digital health innovations for family caregivers and healthcare providers; the Pacific Northwest Economic Region Foundation’s efforts to safely re-open the tourism and performing arts industries in southeast Alaska and the Central Puget Sound region; the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET)’s project that will advance smart manufacturing technologies and promote cross-sector collaboration in Northeast Ohio; and the Greater New Orleans Development Foundation’s new program to help businesses transition from “P.P.E. to P.P.P.T.” (Personal Protective Equipment to Post-Pandemic Products and Technologies.)

The awardees, selected from a pool of 238 applicants, are located in 25 states and Puerto Rico and will leverage approximately $9 million in additional matching funds from various private and public sector sources.

The SPRINT Challenge grant recipients are:

For more information, visit EDA’s SPRINT Challenge webpage.

EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) administers the SPRINT Challenge, as authorized through the CARES Act.

This challenge builds on the momentum of EDA’s Build to Scale Program, which builds regional economies through scalable startups.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.