EDA Grant to Support Technology & Training in Response to COVID-19 Impact

The EDA University Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received $300,000 from the EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance program to boost capacity and support for entrepreneurs and small businesses addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, the funds will support entrepreneurs advancing technologies to address challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the funding will be used to support informal tech education and training, for individuals as well as small businesses adjusting to the digital economy.

“We are pleased to make this investment in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s EDA University Center to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by accelerating technology commercialization from research into COVID-19 and prototyping new products to respond to the needs of the pandemic,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

The EDA Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is based at EnterpriseWorks, the technology incubator in the University of Illinois Research Park. It assists small businesses and entrepreneurs in a region that covers downstate Illinois, roughly defined as the entire state south of I-80. However, services and support funded by the EDA CARES Act award will be available statewide.

More specifically, the funding will support:

  • Programming and activities that help transition workers to digital jobs and small businesses to a digital marketplace, such as the recent Tech Training program. This effort will focus primarily on the Central Illinois region.
  • Technology acceleration support such as
    • Prototyping assistance for entrepreneurs creating PPE or physical products – or pivoting their existing products – to serve or respond to COVID-19 needs.
    • Additional assistance for entrepreneurs and researchers to develop technology, pursue commercialization, and develop business opportunities.

“We have observed many researchers across Illinois universities developing new technologies for testing, PPE, and medical devices to aid in treatment. Innovators throughout Illinois are also developing new uses for existing technology that respond to COVID-19 needs. We are grateful to have resources to help further these innovations so they translate into products, services, companies, and jobs that positively impact human lives and economic well-being,” said Laura Frerichs, Research Park’s Executive Director and PI of the grant.

The CARES Act provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

See the full press release on the EDA website

Related Article: Request for Proposals – COVID-19 Technology Acceleration Program

For more information, contact Cheri Soliday, Outreach Coordinator, EnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois Research Park.