The Innovation Enterprise at Louisiana Tech University has been selected for a $1.5 million award through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build to Scale Venture Challenge competition.
There were 50 award winners from 26 different states, and the Louisiana Tech award was among the largest in the country. EDA’s Build to Scale Venture Challenge is a national competition designed to invest in leading edge institutions and programs that fuel innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology-based economic development around the country.
“The Innovation Enterprise at Louisiana Tech has been a national leader in developing best-practice programs and strategies for leveraging the immense assets of a university like ours to drive innovation and support entrepreneurial economic development in our region,” said Dr Dave Norris, Chief Innovation Officer at Louisiana Tech and principal investigator on the project. “This award is recognition of that past success and expectation of more in the future. I’m especially excited about bringing in new talent to our team in Ruston to help us execute on these growing opportunities.”
Tech was one of two Louisiana organizations receiving awards. The NOLA Business Alliance received a $400,000 investment through the Capital Challenge portion of the competition.
Louisiana Tech’s award will be used to scale up a regional Innovation Ecosystem Hub along the Interstate 20 corridor, including adding team members to the Innovation Enterprise at Tech focused on working directly with entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and investors and engaging regional communities more fully in the economic development activities of the university.
“As Louisiana Tech continues to build its infrastructure to support companies and their growth through facilities like Tech Pointe and the Enterprise Campus, we also have the ability to empower our students with entrepreneurial skills and connections to internships and future careers,” said Dr. Les Guice, Louisiana Tech President.
The Innovation Enterprise team at the university is planning a kickoff event to be held later this year to celebrate the award and launch the new Innovation Ecosystem Hub initiative.
The 2021 EDA Venture Challenge awardees will leverage an additional $40 million in matching funds nationally from a variety of private and public sector sources to support their initiatives. These EDA investments support advanced manufacturing, software development, agricultural technology, blue economy, bioscience, and health technology clusters in regions throughout the U.S. and will lead to stronger, more resilient economies across the country.