401 Tech Bridge receives $725K in federal funds

PROVIDENCE – 401 Tech Bridge has received $724,674 in federal funds to focus on job growth in the state’s blue economy sector, the R.I. congressional delegation announced Friday.

The funds come from the Economic Development Administration’s Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology Challenge program. The program was created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Funds will be used to create a Blue Tech Accelerator in partnership with MassChallenge to develop a fellowship program to help startups grow, to leverage its partner network to identify funding and connections for companies in the sector, and to execute programs to bring startups to scale in the blue tech supply chain.

“This pandemic has wrought so much havoc and upheaval, but it has also demonstrated possibilities for changes to the status quo. And it could lead to growth in innovation and new opportunities for startup creation,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., in a statement. “This federal funding will help provide 401 Tech Bridge and its partners with new startup development resources to launch new ideas, business opportunities and job growth here in Rhode Island.”

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401 Tech Bridge was one of 44 awardees selected from more than 200 applicants, the delegation said.

“As the region recovers from the economic shocks caused by the pandemic, it’s critical that we leverage ocean innovation to enable strong economic and jobs growth by encouraging research that will affect our future success of our region,” said Christian Cowan, chief operating officer of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation and executive director of 401 Tech Bridge. “401 Tech Bridge is thrilled to be awarded this EDA SPRINT grant to help companies identify commercial and dual-use applications for their technology. This funding will create jobs through opportunities for startups and existing businesses to leverage our state’s universities to develop their technology, connect to opportunities within the blue economy, including offshore wind and defense, and access job programs and other services to grow and sustain their businesses.”