Press Release
May 27, 2021

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.2 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Support Entrepreneurs and Increase Economic Resilience in Athens, Ohio

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.2 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, to provide technical assistance for biotech entrepreneurs and modify lab space at its Innovation Center. This EDA grant, to be matched with $304,225 in local funds, is expected to create 330 jobs, retain 450 jobs, and generate $25 million in private investment.

“The Biden Administration supports our entrepreneurs and the key role they are playing in ensuring that our nation not only recovers from this pandemic but builds back better,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in the Ohio University Innovation Center will help to diversifying the Southeastern Ohio regional economy by expanding its capacity to assist entrepreneurs in quickly bringing their products to market.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment at Ohio University Innovation Center will boost resources for entrepreneurs in the biotech industry and support the transition toward a region that can more nimbly respond to future economic disruptions.”

“Southeast Ohio is home to many entrepreneurs, and targeted investments like this will continue to promote entrepreneurship and innovation across the region,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

“These funds will provide Athens and the surrounding region with additional tools and resources to address the economic fallout from COVID-19,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “Not only will this investment build up local infrastructure, but it will develop programs to help Ohioans find good paying jobs.”

“This is exciting news for Ohio University. I’m pleased to see this $1.2 million federal grant go towards supporting Ohio University’s Innovation Center,” said Senator Rob Portman. “This grant, provided through the CARES Act, will help provide assistance to biotech entrepreneurs and is expected to create hundreds of jobs while spurring millions in additional private investment. I was proud to support the CARES Act last year, and I am glad to see that it continues to help local communities in our return to normalcy as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.


  • CARES Act