US Department of Commerce launches $25 million SPRINT Challenge

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WASHINGTON, USA – US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the opening of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) new Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge, which will enable organizations across the country to address the economic, health, and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic through entrepreneurship and innovation.

The SPRINT Challenge is a $25 million national competition funded by the CARES Act. With the publication of the SPRINT Challenge Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), EDA seeks projects that aim to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic and future pandemics. The deadline to apply for the Challenge is December 3, 2020.

“Throughout our history, intrepid American innovators have solved problems and secured our economic competitiveness. The Trump Administration is counting on our Nation’s innovators to help our country through COVID-19 and beyond,” said secretary of commerce Ross. “The SPRINT Challenge will harness America’s entrepreneurial potential to respond to challenges caused by the coronavirus.”

“With this challenge, we will tap into American ingenuity, creativity, and innovation to find unique solutions to the unprecedented challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dana Gartzke, performing the delegated duties of the assistant secretary of commerce for economic development. “Innovators and entrepreneurs are quickly pivoting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The SPRINT Challenge will help communities support those entrepreneurs when we need them the most.”

Eligibility is open to cities, counties, states, other political subdivisions of states, and Indian Tribes; public or private nonprofits; institutions of higher education; and EDA-Economic Development Districts.

Individual grants will be awarded up to $500,000 over a 12-month period of performance or up to $750,000 over an 18-month period of performance. Project focuses may include, but are not limited to, scaling innovative biotechnology, health security, and supply chain technologies and solutions to market; increasing regional, national, and government connectivity across innovation clusters to support commercialization and entrepreneurship; developing new and unique investment capital models to address the financial needs of entrepreneurs; or developing and scaling innovative entrepreneurship support models to address the virtual and remote work environment of the pandemic.

The CARES Act, signed into law by president Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship will administer the SPRINT Challenge, as authorized through the CARES Act. For more information, please visit EDA’s SPRINT Challenge webpage.

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