The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that Iowa State University has been awarded a $406,569 grant to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

“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.”

The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), leads the 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.

42 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 RIS.

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.

Iowa State University’s project will be led by the ISU Startup Factory, with other key entrepreneurship partners on campus, who will use the funds to address key gaps in the innovation ecosystem in the Central Iowa region. These gaps include a lack of accelerator programs aimed at supporting startups focusing on commercializing food technology innovations (broadly defined for this project as food production, food safety and new food products) that will address the current and looming global food security challenges, and the need to link companies in rural states to experienced advisers or mentors and investors.

To learn more about the Regional Innovation Strategies program and the awardee projects, visit and the FAQs.


Julie Lelonek, Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations Communications, 515-294-1562,

Iowa State University
Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations
1805 Collaboration Place
Ames, IA  50010