Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 6/2/2023

Economic Development Administration -- Build to Scale Program

The Build to Scale Program strengthens regional economies by enabling startups to start and grow through the Venture Challenge and Capital Challenge.

The Build to Scale program aims to:

  • facilitate access to knowledge, capital, and networks for entrepreneurial innovators to develop products and services using emerging technologies;
  • test and amplify new approaches for entrepreneur support organizations to create inroads for underrepresented innovators to join and create successful startup teams;
  • demonstrate how diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems are integral to realizing equitable economic and job growth;
  • accelerate the growth of regional economies that are focused on industries of the future;
  • foster cross-sector partnerships necessary to bring innovations from the lab to the market through commercialization assistance; and
  • address structural barriers that prevent access to equity capital.

Under the 2023 Build to Scale NOFO, EDA is running both the Venture and Capital Challenges. There will be no Industry Challenge for FY23. Unlike EDA’s Tech Hubs Program, which seeks to enable regions to become global leaders in a core technology area through multiple, coordinated, large investments in workforce development, technology advancement, business and capital supports, and infrastructure, the B2S program instead makes targeted investments to increase regional capacity to specifically support technology entrepreneurs and strengthen the ecosystems in which those entrepreneurs thrive. 

Deadline: July 28, 2023

Areas of Interest

Venture Challenge

The Venture Challenge funds organizations that enable startups to become the next generation of globally competitive, industry-leading companies and supports regions in overcoming barriers that prevent would-be innovators from accessing these opportunities.

The Venture Challenge seeks to start and speed up regional growth through technology-based economic development (TBED) and by strengthening regional innovation ecosystems that promote the commercialization of new technologies, grow industry clusters, and lead to more good-paying good jobs. This competition offers three funding levels—Build, Scale, and Ignite—designed for grantees to implement programming that reflects the maturity and capacity of their respective innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Capital Challenge

Capital Challenge awards provide programmatic and operational support for the formation, launch, or scale of investment funds that seek to provide access to the kinds of capital that enable technology companies to start and scale. Increasing access to entrepreneur-ready capital involves a wide range of activities that include, but aren’t limited to, working to identify, educate, and connect groups of investors (e.g., angel networks) and standing up early-stage investment funds. These grant funds cannot be used as investment capital.

The Capital Challenge seeks to increase access to capital, particularly in regions where there is a limited supply of equity-based funding and a demonstrated opportunity to invest in innovative, technology-centric businesses within growing industry and technology clusters.

Eligibility Requirements

Entities that are eligible for funding include:

• a State;

• an Indian tribe;

• a city or other political subdivision of a State; 

• an entity whose application is supported by a State or a political subdivision of a state and that is—

o a nonprofit organization;

o an institution of higher education;

o a public-private partnership;

o a science or research park 

o a Federal laboratory;  

o a venture development organization; or

o an economic development organization or similar entity that is focused primarily on improving science, technology, innovation, or entrepreneurship; or

 • a consortium of any of the aforementioned entities.


Amount Description

A minimum one-to-one (1:1) match is required for all Build to Scale awards. Applicants must demonstrate at the time of the application a matching share of at least 50 percent of the total project cost; i.e., for every dollar of federal funds requested, applicants must demonstrate a commitment of at least one dollar of matching share.

EDA plans to award no less than $40,000,000 under the 2023 Venture Challenge. The maximum federal share of each Venture Challenge Build award is $750,000; the maximum federal share of each Venture Challenge Scale award is $2,000,000. Under Venture Challenge Ignite the maximum federal share is $300,000. 

EDA plans to award no less than $8,000,000 under the 2023 Capital Challenge. The maximum federal share of each Capital Challenge Form award is $400,000; the maximum federal share of each Capital Challenge Deploy award is $750,000. 

Funding Type