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February 24, 2020 | Tom Ballard

EDA announces new brands for latest solicitations for former “Regional Innovation Strategies” program

The latest issue of the SSTI Weekly Digest notes that the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced the FY 2020 notice of funding availability for the “Regional Innovation Strategies” program.

SSTI reports there are multiple changes to the program including that EDA is now referring to it as “Build to Scale.” Some of those include:

  • Branding– EDA has renamed all aspects of the program. RIS is now “Build to Scale.” The i6 Challenge is now the “Venture Challenge.” Seed Fund Support is now “Capital Challenge.”
  • Application process– EDA is instituting a two-step application process. All applicants now begin with a comparatively brief “Concept Proposal” (the format is similar to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition). The preliminary application is due March 24. After receiving feedback from EDA, organizations will have until June 14 to submit the full proposal.
  • “Scale” tier– The “Venture Challenge” now has a basic tier, which is similar to past competitions and makes awards up to $600,000. This notice adds a second tier for experienced organizations with track records of success. Under the “scale” tier, organizations can apply for up to $1.5 million in matching funds.
  • New “Industry Challenge” – EDA and the U.S. Department of Energy are partnering to provide up to $4 million in awards only for efforts that will advance water technology.

EDA expects to award $26 million for the venture challenge, $5 million for the capital challenge, and $4 million for the industry challenge in this funding cycle.