On November 15, the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced that it will allocate more than $15 million to startup incubators across the U.S. The funding is part of the i6 challenge, a sub-program in the Startup America Initiative which was launched in 2010 to effectively improve the job markets in various regions by advancing new markets and increasing investments across the country. A business incubator program at Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) will receive nearly $500,000 of these funds to supports growth of new startups in Mohawk Valley and the Utica area.
thINCubator provides educational resources and mentor programs to entrepreneurs, especially within burgeoning sectors like nanotechnology, cybersecurity, and unmanned aerial vehicles. In addition to providing MVCC business and entrepreneurship courses to participating entrepreneurs, thINCubator offers a 10-week program that pairs student groups with community mentors to refine and pitch business ideas. Mentors are experts in business law, information technology, finance, and other fields. MVCC also provides 24/7 access to desk space, meeting spaces, computers and internet, and the MVCC server. Its workspace includes 3D printers, projectors, and audio/visual equipment.
The i6 challenge aims to support the growth of young startups by funding educational institutions and incubators that participate in the Startup America Initiative. New York State's StartupNY enables tax-free operation for startups that partner with SUNY campuses across New York State. Thus far, over 200 startups have used resources enabled by StartupNY, creating over 4,000 jobs and investing more than $251 million across the state.
“Start-up companies are the job-creating engines that power our economic growth in the 21st Century. But as any entrepreneur knows, the first few years can be especially challenging,” said NY Senator Charles Schumer. “This federal funding will build on the thINCubator’s success, by enabling it to provide local entrepreneurs in the burgeoning industries of nanotechnology, cybersecurity and Unmanned Aerial Systems the resources they need to kick-start innovation and provide high-tech jobs to Upstate residents.”
Below is a list of grants from the EDA's Regional Innovation Strategies initiative in the i6 Challenge. Over 215 organizations applied in the beginning of the year.
- Arizona Board of Regents, RISN Incubator, Tempe, Ariz. - $500,000
- Cal State LA University Auxiliary Services, LABioStart Boot Camp, Los Angeles, Calif. - $499,087
- California State University Fresno Foundation, Central Valley Regional Energy Innovation Accelerator, Fresno, Calif. - $500,000
- Clark Atlanta University, Clark Russell Entrepreneurship and Technology Ecosystem (CREATE), Atlanta, Ga. - $432,335
- Composite Technology Recycling Center, Recycled Carbon Fiber Innovation Ecosystem Accelerator, Port Angeles, Wash. - $500,000
- East Carolina University, Proof-of-Concept Project, Greenville, N.C. - $498,443
- First Flight Venture Center, Hanger6, Durham, N.C. - $441,000
- i2E Inc., Venture Assessment Program, Oklahoma City, Okla. - $199,749
- Idea Foundry, Advance Life Sciences Commercialization Project, Pittsburgh, Pa. - $500,000
- Lorain County Community College, Northeast Ohio Regional Acceleration in Digital Innovation (NEO ReADI), Elyria, Ohio - $499,999
- Louisiana State University and A&M College, Louisiana State University Industrial Innovation Center (LSU-IIC), Baton Rouge, La. - $498,624
- Metro North Regional Employment Board, Form to Factory Advanced Manufacturing Project, Cambridge, Mass. - $500,000
- mHUB, Catalyze Chicago, Chicago, Ill. - $500,000
- Mohawk Valley Community College, Upstate Innovation Accelerator, Utica, N.Y. - $499,500
- Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, Brooklyn, N.Y. - $486,680
- Regents of the University of California, Riverside Proof of Concept Center, Riverside, Calif. - $499,950
- Research Foundation for the State University of New York, Regional SBIR/STTR Mentorship Program, Stony Brook, N.Y. - $500,000
- Rutgers University, Ecolgnite: Clean Energy Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator Program, Piscataway, N.J. - $439,190
- Southern Research Institute, Alliance for Innovative Medical Technology Proof of Concept Center, Birmingham, Ala. - $500,000
- StartingBlock Madison, Fitchburg, Wis. - $471,875
- University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., New Materials Innovation Center, Athens, Ga.- $499,635
- University of Pittsburgh, Manufacturing Accelerator Program, Pittsburgh, Pa. - $500,000
- University of Tennessee Health Science Center, The UTHSC Proof of Concept Center, Memphis, Tenn. - $499,885
- University of Texas at Austin, Texas Smart Water Innovation Cluster, Austin, Texas - $500,000
- University of Texas at San Antonio, The South-Texas Innovation Partnership Program (S-TIPP), San Antonio, Texas - $499,997
- University of Toledo, The University of Toledo Rocket Fuel Fund, Toledo, Ohio - $500,000
- WERX Foundation, McKinney, Texas - $345,895