U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Awardees of $10 Million in Grants to Advance Innovation Across America

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the 25 awardees that will receive $10 million under the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. The 2015 RIS program is managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) and is designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country through two different competitions: the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grants competition.

“As the driving force behind the Administration’s focus on entrepreneurship, the Department of Commerce is committed to helping set the conditions for innovators and entrepreneurs to test new ideas, take risks, find financing and customers, and ultimately thrive,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The Regional Innovation Strategies program is critical to ensuring that entrepreneurs have access to the tools they need to move their ideas and inventions from idea to market.”

“As Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ve fought for investments in innovative research to make our economy stronger by supporting jobs today and jobs tomorrow,” said U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) “These funds in the federal checkbook will help turn those new ideas in the laboratories into successful products in the marketplace, invented and manufactured right here at home. I’ll continue to fight for the innovation economy in Maryland and across our country to keep us competitive in the global economy.”

Traveling today in Portland, Maine, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams joined U.S. Senator Angus King and U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree to formally announce these awards, specifically an i6 investment that will help expand the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development’s (MCED) Top Gun program into the Top Gun Rural Accelerator Network (Top Gun RANE) and a Seed Fund Support grant to support Coastal Enterprises Inc.’s (CEI) Natural Resource Business Seed Capital Fund.

“This 2015 Regional Innovation Strategy cohort of grantees is truly an exciting group – the diversity in programs and regional representation proves that innovation and entrepreneurship are igniting all corners of the country,” Assistant Secretary Williams said. “From Puerto Rico to Pittsburgh, and Seattle to Blacksburg, these programs will reach all kinds of communities and help entrepreneurs gain the edge they need to succeed.”

(Commerce Press Release 02/08/2016)