Columbia, SC, October 10, 2022 – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced recently that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding 51 “Build to Scale” grants – totaling $47 million – to organizations that support technology entrepreneurs, catalyze innovation and fuel economic growth. Benedict College received $525,000 to help organize, launch, and operate a state-wide investment accelerator program for underrepresented and minorities persons who are in the early stages of entrepreneurship in South Carolina.
“This is a huge accomplishment for Dean Dunn and her team,” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “We are primed to contribute to South Carolina’s innovation ecosystem in a powerful way. Benedict looks forward to working with our partners across the state who are supporting this project including the South Carolina Department of Commerce, South Carolina Research Authority, and HI Mark Capital.”
“Benedict College and the Burroughs School of Business & Entrepreneurship have a long history of economic development in the Midlands,” said, Dr. Tracy Dunn, Dean of the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship. “This EDA Build to Scale Grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce is significant because it allows us to expand the reach of our work to envelop the state, and more importantly, it includes a pathway for our women and minority early-stage companies in South Carolina to secure capital to grow their businesses.”
“Strengthening technology ecosystems are a critical key to the Biden Administration’s efforts to build a stronger America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Innovation and entrepreneurship have long been keys to American success and will continue to strengthen our collective economic and national security, as well as individual prosperity and well-being.”
“EDA is proud to partner with this year’s ‘Build to Scale’ grantees as they invest in entrepreneurs and create equitable access to capital in their communities,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “These projects will give the next generation of industry-leading companies a seminal boost that will result in job creation and private investment – potentially transforming a regional economy and creating economic opportunity beyond what we can foresee.”
EDA’s “Build to Scale” program provides annual grants that aim to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to entrepreneurial support and startup capital. The 2022 awardees will leverage an additional $48 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources. These EDA investments support advanced manufacturing, bioscience, clean energy and blue economy clusters in regions throughout the United States.
The 2022 Build to Scale program was comprised of two competitions––the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge. The Venture Challenge supports programs that enable high-growth technology entrepreneurship and foster inclusive access to proven entrepreneurship support models. The Capital Challenge increases access to capital in communities where risk capital is in short supply by providing operational support for early-stage investment funds, networks, and training programs that focus on both traditional and hybrid equity-based financing.