U.S. Department of Commerce Announces 60 Recipients of ‘Build to Scale’ Program to Support Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Startups Through Regional, Technology-Based Economic Development Strategies

Grantees Represent 36 States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico


Grantees Represent 36 States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced “Build to Scale” grants awarded to 60 organizations across the country — located in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — totaling $53 million for programs that support technology entrepreneurs, catalyze innovation, and fuel economic growth. This is the 10th cohort of grantees for this program.

The grants, part of the “Build to Scale” program administered annually by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), aim to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to entrepreneurial assistance and startup capital. These EDA investments support innovation industries, such as agriculture technology (agtech), bioscience, advanced manufacturing, blue economy, and health technology, among others.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is Investing in America to help create entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country and put quality, 21st century job opportunities in people’s backyards,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The ‘Build to Scale’ program will unlock innovation potential in regions all over the nation, improving our economic competitiveness now, and for decades to come.”

“EDA is proud to partner with this year’s ‘Build to Scale’ grantees as they fuel regional innovation hubs and technology-based economic development strategies throughout the U.S.,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “Investing in scalable startups and expanding access entrepreneurial capital will yield good-paying jobs, economic resiliency, and equitable growth in communities throughout America.”

The FY23 “Build to Scale” program was comprised of two competitions––the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. Each challenge had multiple funding tiers that are designed to support organizations at different levels based on their needs, capacity and vision.

The Venture Challenge supports programs that enable high-growth technology entrepreneurship and foster inclusive access to proven entrepreneurship support models. This competition has three tiers: Ignite (to plan and launch new tech-based economic development strategies); Build (to pilot or adapt new programs); and Scale (to scale a proven program).

The Capital Challenge increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply. Operational support is provided for early-stage investment funds, networks, and training programs that focus on both traditional and hybrid equity-based financing. This competition has two tiers: Form (to educate, connect investors and create new funds); and Deploy (to scale and operate equity-based investment funds). These grant funds cannot be used as investment capital.

The 2023 awardees – which include nonprofits, universities, government agencies, and other entrepreneurship-focused organizations – will leverage an additional $55 million in matching funds from an array of private and public sector sources.

2023 Venture Challenge Grant Recipients

2023 Capital Challenge Grant Recipients

EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship administers the Build to Scale program, which is authorized under Section 27 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Act.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.


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