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Build to Scale (B2S) Program

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    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    B - Readily funds technology as part of an award


    Economic Development Administration (EDA)


    EDAs Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship is committed to furthering technology-based economic development initiatives that accelerate high quality job growth, create more economic opportunities, and support the future of the next generation of industry leading companies. To advance these goals, EDA awards grants through the Build to Scale Program (formerly the Regional Innovation Strategies Program) for activities designed to develop and support regional innovation initiatives.

    Under the Build to Scale Program, EDA is soliciting applications for three separate competitions: (1) the Venture Challenge, (2) the Capital Challenge, and (3) the Industry Challenge. Applicants may apply to all three challenges but may only submit one application per competition.

    • Venture Challenge - The Venture Challenge invites organizations to submit competitive proposals that seek to support entrepreneurship and accelerate company growth in their community, region, or combination of regions. Applicant organizations should be addressing issues within their innovation systems in order to strengthen economic competitiveness through new product innovation or new technology adoption, improve the commercialization of research, enhance the overall innovation capacity and resilience of a region, and/or leverage regional competitive strengths to stimulate innovation and job creation.
    • Capital Challenge - The Capital Challenge provides operational support for the formation, launch, or scale of investment funds that seek to invest their capital in scalable startups or to organizations with a goal to expand capital deployment within a community, region, or regional industry (i.e., angel networks or investor training programs). Funding will primarily support operational and programmatic costs and may not be used as investment capital.
    • Industry Challenge Innovation in the Blue Economy - The purpose of the Industry Challenge is to support projects addressing energy innovation in the Blue Economy. Proposed projects should focus on energy innovation related to ocean activities, or complementary, broader blue economy innovations. Energy topics of interest include, but are not limited to, marine energy technologies (waves, current and tidal, as well as thermal and salinity gradients), offshore wind, floating offshore solar, maritime fuels, port microgrids, vessel supplemental propulsion, etc. Blue economy sectors that may benefit from energy innovation include, but are not limited to: marine energy, offshore wind, marine conservation, marine ecosystem biodiversity, aquaculture, ocean observing, maritime transport, or other lines of business directly connected to oceans, rivers, or other freshwater and marine waterways.

    NOTE: There is no funding available for construction projects under this program, including projects related to the design or renovation of buildings. However, certain structural modifications may be eligible in some circumstances


    History of Funding

    Previous grantees can be seen at

    Additional Information

    There are no limits to the amount of proposals an organization may submit; however, applicants should clearly indicate that they are submitting multiple different proposals, rather than changes to a previously submitted application. Organizations intending to submit multiple applications should also keep in mind that the Grants Officer will take into consideration the extent to which the project supports EDAs goals of geographic balance in distribution of program funds, project types, organizational type, and the overall portfolio of awards when making final selections; therefore, multiple proposals from the same organization are not likely to be funded.


    Chivas Grannum

    Chivas Grannum
    1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Suite 71014
    Washington, DC 20230
    (215) 597-8723

    Zac Graves

    Zac Graves
    1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Suite 71014
    Washington, DC 20230
    (303) 844-4092

    Brian Parker

    Brian Parker
    1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Suite 71014
    Washington, DC 20230
    (206) 220-7675

    Robin Cooley

    Robin Cooley
    1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Suite 71014
    Washington, DC 20230
    (803) 253-3640

    Don Kathan

    Don Kathan
    1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Suite 71014
    Washington, DC 20230
    (312) 789-9765

    Chris Rys

    Chris Rys
    1401 Constitution Avenue, NW Suite 71014
    Washington, DC 20230
    (512) 381-8157

  • Eligibility Details

    Those eligible to apply are:
    • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status 
    • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS
    • County governments
    • Native American tribal governments
    • Special district governments
    • City or township governments
    • Institutions of higher education
    • State governments
    • Science or research parks

    Deadline Details

    The deadline for the receipt of Concept Proposals is 11:59 pm eastern time March 24, 2020. The deadline for the receipt of Full Applications is 11:59 pm eastern time June 14, 2020.

    Award Details

     EDA has been appropriated $33 million for grants. Award amounts vary by program type:

    • Venture Challenge - EDA plans to award approximately $26,000,000 under the 2020 Venture Challenge. The maximum Federal share of each Venture Challenge Build award is $600,000; the maximum Federal share of each Venture Challenge Scale award is $1,500,000.
    • Capital Challenge - EDA plans to award approximately $5,000,000 under the 2020 Capital Challenge. The maximum Federal share of each Capital Challenge award is $300,000.
    • Industry Challenge Innovation in the Blue Economy - EDA plans to award approximately $4,000,000 under the 2020 Industry Challenge. These funds will include $2,000,000 from DOE WPTO and $2,000,000 from EDA funding authorized by Section 27. The maximum Federal share of each Industry Challenge award is $600,000.

    A cost share of 50% is required.

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