Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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November 12, 2023 | Tom Ballard

No Tennessee recipients in latest awards under the “Build to Scale” program

A total of 60 awards were made to the 10th cohort of the initiative administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Sixty organizations located in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are sharing $53 million for programs that support technology entrepreneurs, catalyze innovation, and fuel economic growth. There were no recipients from Tennessee.

The 60 are the latest recipients of funding in the 10th cohort of grantees under the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s “Build to Scale” program that is comprised of two competitions – the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. Each has multiple funding tiers that are designed to support organizations at different levels based on their needs, capacity, and vision.

  • The Venture Challenge supports programs that enable high-growth technology entrepreneurship and foster inclusive access to proven entrepreneurship support models. This competition has three tiers: Ignite (to plan and launch new tech-based economic development strategies); Build (to pilot or adapt new programs); and Scale (to scale a proven program).
  • The Capital Challenge increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply. Operational support is provided for early-stage investment funds, networks, and training programs that focus on both traditional and hybrid equity-based financing. This competition has two tiers: Form (to educate, connect investors and create new funds); and Deploy (to scale and operate equity-based investment funds). These grant funds cannot be used as investment capital.

Recipients from neighboring states in the Venture Challenge category include:

Recipients from neighboring states in the Capital Challenge include:

The 2023 awardees – which include nonprofits, universities, government agencies, and other entrepreneurship-focused organizations – will leverage an additional $55 million in matching funds from an array of private and public sector sources.



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