Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Announce Capital Challenge Grant Award to The Innovation Space

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) announced a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) of $750,000 to The Innovation Space. The grants, part of the “Build to Scale” program administered annually by the 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 delegation has supported The Innovation Space since its inception in 2016 with federal investments to encourage research, incubate new businesses, and drive economic growth in Delaware. In July, the delegation sent a letter of support supporting the Delaware Innovation Space’s application. 

“Delaware has always been a hotbed of innovation and growth – and this grant from the Economic Development Administration to The Innovation Space will allow our state to continue to attract and retain talent and grow our economy,” said the Delaware Congressional Delegation. “This funding will help us continue to leverage Delaware’s three-pronged strategy of incubation, acceleration, and seed funding that will help create the next generation of high-growth startup companies. We’ll continue our work in Congress to fight for the resources to grow Delaware’s economy.” 

“This funding will help us create a more robust innovation ecosystem for science entrepreneurs in Delaware and our region,” said Bill Provine, founder and CEO of The Innovation Space. “We appreciate the Delaware congressional delegation’s strong support of our work and their commitment to building an economic engine powered by innovation.”

The award to The Innovation Space was made as part of the Economic Development Administration’s Capital Challenge. 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.