To address the economic, health and safety risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department Of Commerce recently launched the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) new Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) challenge.

This challenge uses federal CARES Act monies to provide the EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

“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.”

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. The 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 and other targeted areas.

Applicant organizations should articulate a clearly defined strategy to leverage grant funds to support one or more of the following activities to help address the needs of and unique operating environment necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Scaling biotechnology, health security and supply chain technologies to market.
  • Increasing regional, national and government connectivity to support commercialization and entrepreneurship.
  • Developing new and unique investment capital models to address the financial needs of entrepreneurs.
  • Developing and scaling entrepreneurship support models to address the virtual and remote work environment of the pandemic.

Resources For Applicants