The U.S. Department of Commerce dished out $35 million in grants last week to organizations supporting entrepreneurship and company growth across the nation.
The grant recipients include nonprofits, higher education institutions and entrepreneurship-focused organizations from 36 states. The Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build to Scale (B2S) program, managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, awards these grants annually. This year, private and public sector sources are matching an additional $44 million. The funding will also increase access to risk capital for some regions.
“Projects in federally-designated Opportunity Zones will bring new capital and opportunity to communities that traditionally have been ignored,” said Dana Gartzke, head of the EDA bureau, in a statement.
Of the more than 600 applications received, 52 organizations were selected to receive funding from the B2S program. As part of the program, all of the organizations plan on hosting competitions to help scale startups in their regions across three categories: the Venture Challenge, the Capital Challenge, and the new Industry Challenge. Grantees were awarded funding in these three categories.
Four organizations in the DMV region secured funding in the Venture Challenge category:
- Halcyon House, Washington, D.C., $1.5 million
- Patrick Henry Community College, Martinsville, Virginia, $300,474
- Roanoke-Blacksburg Innovation Network, Blacksburg, Virginia, $982,443
- University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland, $594,190
Georgetown-based Halcyon is an incubator for social enterprises founded by the nonprofit S&R Foundation. The nonprofit said in an email that this funding is the single largest award it has received since its inception. Halcyon will use this funding to support one of its newer programs launched earlier this year.
“The three-year grant will allow for the expansion of the Opportunity Intensive program, which provides a year-long fellowship for social entrepreneurs in Washington, D.C., whose businesses are based in or serve designated Opportunity Zones,” the org said.
Halcyon’s Opportunity Intensive program welcomed 10 social entrepreneurs in January. The program is a tailored version of the nonprofit’s prominent 18-month incubator program.
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