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OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program

EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) leads the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. Under the RIS Program, the centerpiece of the Regional Innovation Program authorized under Section 27 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. § 3722), EDA currently awards grants that build regional capacity to translate innovations into jobs (1) through proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs and (2) through operational support for organizations that provide essential early-stage risk capital to innovators and entrepreneurs.

The RIS Program consists of two separate competitions: the i6 Challenge and Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grants competition. The i6 Challenge is a leading national initiative designed to support the creation of centers for innovation and entrepreneurship that increase the rate at which innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and research are translated into products, services, viable companies, and, ultimately, jobs. Through the SFS Grants competition, EDA provides funding for technical assistance to support the creation, launch, or expansion of equity-based, cluster-focused seed funds that invest regionally-managed risk capital in regionally-based startups with a potential for high growth.

2017 RIS Program

On Wednesday, September 20th, 2017, EDA announced the 2017 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program awards. In this year’s round, $17 million in Federal funding was available for the creation and expansion of cluster-focused programs and early-stage seed capital funds that strengthen ecosystems in which entrepreneurs can translate research and technologies into new businesses and jobs through the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant competition. EDA made 42 total investments and leveraged over $22 million in private, State, and local matching funds.

This fourth cohort of awards expands the i6 and SFS portfolios into a total of eight new states. Overall, RIS grantees are now building local and regional entrepreneurship ecosystems in 40 states and one U.S. territory in which entrepreneurs and innovators are starting and scaling businesses in industries like advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agricultural technology, healthcare technology, and more. These ecosystems are the foundations of vibrant, dynamic regional economies that are globally competitive and create quality jobs.

To stay up-to-date on the latest RIS program news, including announcements of any future funding opportunities, please check this page regularly and sign up for EDA’s newsletter.


Have Questions?

For questions about applying for this program or for more information about EDA programs, you may contact the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship or your appropriate EDA Regional Office RIS Point(s) of Contact:

Regional Office Point of Contact Email Phone
Headquarters Office of Innovation and
oie@eda.gov (202) 482-8001
Atlanta Robin Cooley rcooley@eda.gov (803) 253-3640
Austin Chris Rys crys@eda.gov (512) 381-8157
Chicago Greg Becker gbecker@eda.gov (312) 789-9752
Denver Zac Graves zgraves@eda.gov (303) 844-4092
Philadelphia Chivas Grannum cgrannum@eda.gov (215) 597-8723
Seattle Brian Parker bparker2@eda.gov (206) 220-7675