U.S. Commerce Dept. Invests $15 Million in Entrepreneurs at Rutgers and Across U.S. to Move Ideas to Market, Promote Innovation

Washington, DC - December 2, 2016

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced 35 organizations — including Rutgers University — from 19 states will receive nearly $15 million to create and expand cluster-focused, proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early-stage seed capital funds through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

The diverse group of awardees, selected from a pool of more than 215 applicants, reach urban and rural areas across the United States, including the program’s first investments in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the South; a women-focused, early-stage capital fund in Texas; a Native American-centered, proof-of-concept program in Oklahoma; and urban innovation hubs honing in on fashion technology (New York) and social innovation (Louisiana). Additionally, six awards are being made in EDA’s Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership regions.  

 “The RIS program advances innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country by addressing two essential core components that entrepreneurs need to take their ideas to market: programmatic support and access to capital,” said Secretary Pritzker. “As America’s Innovation Agency, the Commerce Department has a key role to play in supporting the visionaries and job creators of tomorrow. Congratulations to today’s awardees who will make U.S. communities, businesses, and the workforce more globally competitive.”  

The RIS grants, broken into two categories — the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grants  Rutgers received over $400k as part of the The 16 Challenge Investment - Ecolgnite: Clean Energy Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator Program.  The entire release can be found on the EDA website.