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U.S. Regional Industry Cluster Challenge Unveiled

Pins on a map (CJ Sorg/Flickr)The Economic Development Administration (EDA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced a funding competition to promote the development of regional collections of innovative businesses. The $33 million program, called the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, will fund 20 “high-growth industry clusters” that best spell out strategies for meeting opportunities or overcoming obstacles to success in their regions.

EDA defines these regional clusters as “networks of interconnected firms and supporting institutions that accelerate innovation, business formation, and job creation.” The agency expects to award funds to applicants that demonstrate achievement of measurable outcomes such as commercialization, business formation, expansion of existing businesses, job creation, and exports.

In addition to $10 million from EDA, Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration will add$20 million for technical skills training, and Small Business Administration will contribute up to $3 million in technical assistance. The individual awards are expected to range from about $1.5 million to $2.2 million per cluster.

Applicants are requested to submit a letter of intent by 10 June 2011. Final proposals are due on 7 July 2011. A teleconference about the challenge is scheduled for 7 June.

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Photo: C.J. Sorg/Flickr

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