ATLANTA, GA— November 29, 2016– Clark Atlanta University (CAU) will soon be receiving a federal grant for community innovation. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recently announced that CAU along with 34 other organizations — including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations — 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.
CAU received the funds to partner in launching a groundbreaking university-community initiative, the Clark Russell Entrepreneurship and Technology Ecosystem (CREATE). Over the next three years, CREATE will develop and launch an innovative platform that will economically transform southwest Atlanta into a vibrant, inclusive and entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem supporting approximately 50 new entrepreneurs in creating 400 jobs in local food system technology enterprises. Partners in the initiative include the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and two community partners, the Herman J. Russell Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RCIE) and the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture.
The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), leads the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. The program is authorized through the America COMPETES reauthorization Act of 2010, and received a dedicated appropriation for the first time in FY2014.
Earlier this year, EDA released the 2016 Regional Innovation Strategies Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) and began accepting applications. The application period was opened for 60 days. Under the FFO, $13 million was allocated for i6 Challenge grants and $2 million was made available for SFS grants. To learn more about the Regional Innovation Strategies program and the awardee projects, visit eda.gov and the FAQs.