Economic Development Administration -- Regional Innovation Strategies Program

Funding Agency:
Department of Commerce

EDA is committed to fostering connected, innovation-centric economies that increase job growth and global competitiveness through technology commercialization and entrepreneurship as described in Section 27 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 19801 . Multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaborations that draw upon the resources of community and regional public, corporate, university, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations foster dynamic, resilient regional economies, job growth, and globally competitive communities. 

In order to retain and increase global competitiveness and to realize job growth, regions must build public and private capacity for entrepreneurship and innovation to invent, improve, and bring to market new products and services. The Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program catalyzes this community and regional capacity-building, ultimately helping to better identify and align assets to help manufacturers innovate and succeed, support businesses’ export-related needs, attract foreign direct investment (FDI), and creating and implementing strategies that create jobs. The RIS Program empowers communities to provide proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs and operational support for organizations that provide essential early-stage funding to startups, building platforms from which they can best leverage public and private sector infrastructure investments in broadband and digital connectivity, transportation, education, and beyond. Under this 2019 RIS Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), EDA is soliciting applications for two separate competitions—the 2019 i6 Challenge and the 2019 Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant Competition.

Deadline: April 4, 2019

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

2019 i6 Challenge

The i6 Challenge is designed to increase entrepreneurship that is driven by innovations, ideas, intellectual property (IP), and applied research through the process of technology commercialization and that results in new businesses, accelerated paths to export, increased FDI, and new jobs.

2019 Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant Competition

Access to capital for early-stage companies is an essential element of a healthy regional innovation cluster. Taking an idea or innovation from conception to market often requires capital, but, in many regions across the country, innovators and entrepreneurs struggle to find it. Through the SFS Grant Competition, EDA provides funding for technical assistance and operational costs, such as conducting feasibility studies, engaging in planning activities, etc., that support the formation, launch, or scale of cluster-focused seed funds that invest their capital in innovation-based startups with a potential for high growth and job creation. 

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants for EDA financial assistance under this FFO include:

1. A State;

2. An Indian tribe;

3. A city or other political subdivision of a State;

4. An entity that— a. is a nonprofit organization, an institution of higher education, a public-private partnership, a science or research park, a Federal laboratory, or an economic development organization or similar entity; and b. has an application that is supported by a State or a political subdivision of a State; or

5. A consortium of any of the entities described in subparagraphs (1) through (4).



Amount Description

The maximum Federal share of each i6 Challenge grant is $750,000.

The maximum Federal share of each SFS Grant is $300,000.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational
Social Sciences

External Deadline

April 4, 2019