The U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that Invest Nebraska has been awarded a $300,000 grant to focus on AgTech in Nebraska through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program. Invest Nebraska, a public-private partnership with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, is a major player in the advancement of high-growth businesses across the state
“The Trump Administration is committed to strengthening U.S. production and exports, which are essential to our nation’s economic growth,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These projects will enable entrepreneurs in communities across the United States to start new businesses, manufacture innovative products, and export them throughout the world – increasing America’s global competitiveness.”
Under the award Invest Nebraska, in coordination with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the University of Nebraska, and the private sector, will lead the efforts to develop an AgTech Cluster Development Plan, conduct statewide education and outreach efforts with potential AgTech investors, and increase deal flow activity by providing operational assistance to Nebraska’s AgTech entrepreneurs and innovators.
The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), leads the i6 Regional Innovation Strategies Program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation. The program is authorized through the America COMPETES reauthorization Act of 2010, and has received dedicated appropriations since FY2014.
Forty-two organizations — including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations from 28 states received over $17 million to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early-stage seed capital funds through the i6 program.
“We are extremely honored to be the first organization in Nebraska to receive an award under the EDA’s i6 Program,” said Dan Hoffman, CEO of Invest Nebraska.” “Nebraska ranks 4th in the nation for total agricultural cash receipts and ranked 3rd in the nation for growth in technology jobs in 2015. Integrating more technology into agriculture can lead to significant AgTech startups in the state.”
This fourth cohort of Regional Innovation Strategies awardees expands the RIS portfolio to eight new states and continues to build vibrant regional entrepreneurial economies. The awardees were selected from a pool of more than 217 applicants.