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Build to Scale Program (B2S)


Additional Links

Notice of Funding Opportunity (


Application Deadline: Jul 28, 2023


Economic Development Administration (EDA)


Awards funding to increase job growth and economic opportunity through the development of future industry-leading companies by supporting technology-based economic development (TBED). Supports organizations working to help companies by increasing access to investment capital, accelerating company growth, empowering entrepreneurs, and enabling technology commercialization. The program is comprised of two separate competitions: the Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge.

Venture Challenge grants support technology entrepreneurship and company growth in communities, regions, or a combination of regions. Strengthens innovation systems and economic competitiveness by advancing a new product, service innovation, or technology adoption; enhancing research commercialization processes and outcomes; addressing structural barriers that inhibit regional innovation capacity and resilience; or leveraging regional competitive strengths to stimulate innovation and the creation of high-skill and well paying jobs. The Venture Challenge competition has three funding levels:

  • Venture Challenge Ignite Projects:
    • Should establish new partnerships across sectors, industries, and organizational types focused on building capacity
    • May conduct community needs audits and assessments to create a comprehensive TBED strategy for the region
    • May establish governance or other formal agreements and structures among partners and identify regional TBED champions
    • Can develop a new or reimagined commercialization and technology transfer function
  • Venture Challenge Build Projects:
    • Can pilot a solution to a demonstrated need
    • May implement a proven solution for a new region or community
    • Can demonstrate a commitment and ability to achieve, measure, and share data that support agreed upon impacts
  • Venture Challenge Scale Projects:
    • May scale up an existing initiative that has established and achieved impacts based on empirical evidence
    • Must be carried out by an entity with a proven track record of successfully deploying programs
    • Can demonstrate a commitment and ability to achieve, measure, and share data that support agreed upon impacts to accelerate TBED strategies

Capital Challenge grants increase access to capital by providing operational support for the formation, launch, or scale of investment funds. Funds should look to invest in scalable startups or organizations, such as angel networks or investor training programs, that help to deploy capital within a community, region, or regional industry. The Capital Challenge competition has two funding levels:

  • Capital Challenge Form Projects:
    • Should identify, educate, and connect investors and other potential sources of equity-based capital within a regional technology cluster
    • Should identify sources of potential investments and build capacity to conduct due diligence and close investment deals
    • Can demonstrate a commitment and ability to achieve, measure, and share data that support agreed upon impacts
  • Capital Challenge Deploy Projects:
    • Should raise and deploy equity or equity-based capital within a regional technology cluster via a fund or other investment framework
    • Should deploy investment capital into technology startups based on an investment thesis that clearly supports and fosters the growth of a regional technology cluster and its entrepreneurship ecosystem
    • Should assess companies for high-growth potential as a central factor of their investment strategy
    • Can demonstrate a commitment and ability to achieve, measure, and share data that support agreed upon impacts

Build to Scale projects are expected to directly benefit underserved populations, such as women, Black, Latino, and indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders, as well as underserved communities, including tribal lands, persistent poverty counties, and rural areas.

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling:

  • Venture Challenge
    • Build competition: $750,000 per project period
    • Scale competition: $2,000,000 per project period
    • Ignite competition: $300,000 per project period
  • Capital Challenge
    • Form competition: $400,000 per project period
    • Deploy competition: $750,000 per project period

Project period: Approximately 3 years
Estimated number of awards: 65
Estimated total program funding: $50,000,000

The project period for Venture Challenge Ignite projects is 18-24 months.

A dollar-for-dollar matching contribution is required for all B2S competitions. At the time of application, applicants are required to demonstrate a matching share of at least 50% of the total project costs.

B2S funds cannot be used to invest in startups or other companies.

Who Can Apply

Eligible applicants include:

  • States
  • Indian tribes
  • Cities or other political subdivisions of a state
  • An entity whose application is supported by a state or political subdivision of a state and that is:
    • A nonprofit organization
    • An institution of higher education
    • A public-private partnership
    • A science or research park
    • A federal laboratory
    • A venture development organization
    • An economic development organization or similar entity focused primarily on improving science, technology, innovation, or entrepreneurship
  • A consortium of any of the immediately aforementioned entities

Organizations currently implementing a Build to Scale or Regional Innovation Strategies project awarded in a prior year must complete all activities under the existing award by October 1, 2023 in order to be eligible for funding through the same successor challenge under this opportunity.

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Capacity Building • Equipment • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing • Starting a Business

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information about the concept proposal and the full application can be found in the funding announcement.

Applications must be submitted electronically through Economic Development Grants Experience (EDGE), a grants management system. Applicants may apply to both B2S competitions but may only submit one application per competition.

Applicant webinar recording and slides
Applicant frequently asked questions


For questions on submitting in EDGE:

For programmatic questions or technical assistance:
Contact your State Economic Development Representative

Rural Awards

Past awards communities have received are described on the program website.

Rural communities who have received funding in fiscal year 2023 include:

  • Northeastern Vermont Development Association in St. Johnsbury, Vermont received Venture Challenge funding to implement an initiative that will conduct outreach and provide tech-focused programming to up to 350 participants and offer targeted support to 45 tech entrepreneurs. The goal of the project is to transform the region's rural economy through development of a tech ecosystem.
  • Center on Rural Innovation in Hartland, Vermont was awarded Capital Challenge funds to support the Green Mountain Accelerator Fund, which will provide pre-seed and seed investment opportunities, mentorship programming, and ongoing support to 30 local tech startup founders, with a particular focus on supporting female founders, across 5 rural Vermont counties.

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • Economic Development