Build to Scale (B2S)
The Build to Scale Program strengthens regional economies by enabling startups to start and grow through the Venture Challenge and Capital Challenge.
EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) leads the Build to Scale (B2S) program, which is authorized under Section 27 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. § 3722). Under the B2S program, EDA awards and manages a portfolio of grants designed to increase regional capacity to strengthen ecosystems that equitably and inclusively support diverse technology innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups. These regions are growing technology-driven businesses, creating high-skill, high-wage jobs, and building the industries of the future.
The Build to Scale program aims to:
- facilitate access to knowledge, capital, and networks for entrepreneurial innovators to develop products and services using emerging technologies;
- test and amplify new approaches for entrepreneur support organizations to create inroads for underrepresented innovators to join and create successful startup teams;
- demonstrate how diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems are integral to realizing equitable economic and job growth;
- accelerate the growth of regional economies that are focused on industries of the future;
- foster cross-sector partnerships necessary to bring innovations from the lab to the market through commercialization assistance; and
- address structural barriers that prevent access to equity capital.
Under the 2023 Build to Scale NOFO, EDA is running both the Venture and Capital Challenges. There will be no Industry Challenge for FY23. Unlike EDA’s Tech Hubs Program, which seeks to enable regions to become global leaders in a core technology area through multiple, coordinated, large investments in workforce development, technology advancement, business and capital supports, and infrastructure, the B2S program instead makes targeted investments to increase regional capacity to specifically support technology entrepreneurs and strengthen the ecosystems in which those entrepreneurs thrive.
The Venture Challenge funds organizations that enable startups to become the next generation of globally competitive, industry-leading companies and supports regions in overcoming barriers that prevent would-be innovators from accessing these opportunities.
The Venture Challenge seeks to start and speed up regional growth through technology-based economic development (TBED) and by strengthening regional innovation ecosystems that promote the commercialization of new technologies, grow industry clusters, and lead to more good-paying good jobs. This competition offers three funding levels—Build, Scale, and Ignite—designed for grantees to implement programming that reflects the maturity and capacity of their respective innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems.
New for FY 2023, the Ignite Challenge is designed to support the development of nascent technology-based ecosystems to build organizational capacity to design and implement TBED projects through feasibility studies, impact analyses, and planning to address regional innovation needs, including access to capital, and to build formal partnerships to lay the foundation for this type of work. For more information about the Venture Challenge and to view past grantees, click here.
Capital Challenge awards provide programmatic and operational support for the formation, launch, or scale of investment funds that seek to provide access to the kinds of capital that enable technology companies to start and scale. Increasing access to entrepreneur-ready capital involves a wide range of activities that include, but aren’t limited to, working to identify, educate, and connect groups of investors (e.g., angel networks) and standing up early-stage investment funds. These grant funds cannot be used as investment capital.
The Capital Challenge seeks to increase access to capital, particularly in regions where there is a limited supply of equity-based funding and a demonstrated opportunity to invest in innovative, technology-centric businesses within growing industry and technology clusters.
This competition offers two funding levels—Form and Deploy—designed to catalyze the development and growth of regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems and address barriers to accessing equity-based capital. For more information about the Capital Challenge and to view past grantees, click here.
- PRESS RELEASE: 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
- BLOG: $50 Million Build to Scale (B2S) Program Funding Opportunity Launched to Support Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Startups Through Regional Technology-Based Economic Development Strategies
- WEBINAR: FY 2023 NOFO Launch
- Webinar Slides (PDF)
- FY 2023 NOFO (PDF)
- FY 2023 FAQs (PDF) - (As of 6/26/2023)
- Optional Budget Narrative and Staffing Template (XLSX)
- Public Entities - application checklist (DOCX)
- Non-public entities - application checklist (DOCX)
- FIPS template (XLSX)
- SF-424 form Tutorial
- SF-424A form Tutorial
- Budget Narrative Tutorial
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