BATON ROUGE — Six federal grants announced recently will inject nearly $9 million into Louisiana to make critical infrastructure improvements needed to support current and future business development, health care and flood risk reduction.
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced two of the six Economic Development Administration awards Tuesday (Nov. 14), representing $4.4 million of public investment in the state:
- The Baton Rouge Health District will receive $2.7 million to support infrastructure improvements, including improved signage and intersection enhancements, needed to support business development. The project will be matched with $680,000 in local funds.
- The city of West Monroe will receive $1.7 million to make infrastructure improvements to deteriorated portions of the Black Bayou Canal, which serves as the main artery for stormwater drainage in the city. The project will be matched with $425,260 in local funds.
“Thank you to President Biden and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo for recognizing the important role that Louisiana’s life sciences sector plays in creating jobs across our state and improving health care around the world,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “This award will support the Baton Rouge Health District’s efforts to create a world-class research and healthcare cluster in our state capital. And the award in West Monroe advances our continuing efforts to make Louisiana more resilient through flood risk-reduction projects inland as well as along the coast. Once again, the EDA demonstrates how the federal government and states working together can transform communities.”
Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of the EDA’s Nov. 9 awarding of four grants totaling more than $4.5 million to support technology entrepreneurship in Louisiana.
Nationally, the “Build to Scale” grants will invest more than $53 million in 60 organizations to create or expand programs that support technology entrepreneurship, catalyze innovation and fuel economic growth.
- BRF, based in Shreveport, won two of the four grants for a pair of Entrepreneurial Accelerator Programs (EAPs) – $1.3 million (with $1.3 million local match) for NorLaunch: Scaling Innovative Enterprises in North Louisiana, and $655,436 (with a $658,520 local match) for NorCap: Deploying Capital for Innovative Enterprises in North Louisiana. Created in 2014, the program provides entrepreneurs with a suite of services to grow the regional innovation ecosystem and access capital and angel funds.
- Louisiana State University won a $600,000 grant (with a $600,000 local match) for the Baton Rouge Initiative for Development, Growth, and Entrepreneurship (BRIDGE). The program is designed to enhance technology entrepreneurship education and resources for the Capital Region and Louisiana State University affiliated, supported, and mentored startup and growth entities.
- The Idea Village in New Orleans won a $2 million grant (with a $2 million local match) for its Scaling a Gulf South Hub for Industries of the Future project.
“Louisiana’s technology sector has experienced steady growth over the past decade, and was recently recognized as having the No. 1 Tech Talent Pipeline in the U.S.,” Gov. Edwards said. “These awards will help us to sustain that growth by investing in the tech businesses of the future, and the maturing innovation ecosystem that supports them.”