How Do Economic Development Administration (EDA) Grants Work?

Economic development administration grants are given to impoverished or disaffected communities in the US to improve their lives. They are granted by the US EDA (Economic Development Administration).

The US Economic Development Administration has been working with impoverished or distressed communities across the country for half a century. Not only do their grants improve the standards of living of millions of people, but they also foster collaboration and innovation.  

What are Economic Development Administration Grants? 

EDA grants do exactly what their name suggests. They increase economic development and fulfill economic development strategies meant to foster entrepreneurship and bring more jobs. These strategies include creating higher-skill jobs, better wage jobs, and improving the likelihood of private investment. 

How Can You Apply for EDA Grants?

You can apply for EDA grants by going to this website. The process for applications has been made extremely simple due to the refinements that were made. The government has listened to people’s feedback and made the process much more ‘doable.’ 

The EDA grants recently underwent certain changes. As late as 2015, a Federal Register Notice was issued, which announced proposed improvements to the application forms. The same year, those changes went into effect with the FFO publication (see below). 

Changes to the Economic Development Administration Grants

  • The forms have gone through major changes and are now shorter. Each program will have a mix and match of these shorter forms.
  • Full applications had to be submitted before to determine a project’s technical and merit requirements. Now, only a short proposal form is needed. This form will describe the project in brief. If the proposal is deemed worthy of funding, you will be called to apply for EDA grants with a full application. An EDA member will be assigned to provide you with feedback on your proposal and assist with any future applications.
  • Quarterly application deadlines have been scrapped. The EDA will accept applications at any point and will work more closely with applicants when responding to funding decisions. With shorter forms for proposals to assess a project, much less effort will be required for the applicants. 

Types of Economic Development Administration Grants

There are several different types of EDA grants which are given out to build regional economies. These are grants to create scalable startups, entrepreneurship opportunities, and technology-based development initiatives. 

Here are some of the major 2021 EDA grants you can get. 

Build to Scale Program (B2S) 

The Build to Scale Program has made $38 million available in federal funds to contribute to regional economies. It favors technology-based initiatives to boost the economy. It supports the next generation of industry-leading companies. 

B2S doesn’t fund individuals. 

Under FY21 B2S, applications are being welcomed for two different competitions through Venture Challenge and the Capital Challenge.

Venture Challenge

The Venture Challenge supports entrepreneurship and strives to push forward scalable growth for companies in underdeveloped communities. It helps to change the status quo of markets and democratizes technology further. 

Capital Challenge

The Capital Challenge seeks to improve access to capital in different communities or sectors in short supply. This includes funding going to educational institutions, angel investment networks, and investment funds. 

Application Closing Date

The application closing date for the B2S grant is April 29, 2021, at 11:59 pm ET. 

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) 

In partnership with the CARES act, $1.467 billion has been made available to eligible grantees. These grantees have to be in communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. No application deadlines exist for this grant. 

Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (PWEAA) Programs Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO)

This grant caters to economically impoverished communities and provides ‘comprehensive and flexible resources’ for economic needs. Funds from this grant will allow work to be supported in Opportunity Zones. The goal of the grant is to create more jobs and retain existing ones to reduce unemployment. 

Applicants are solicited through the PWEAA Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Through these organizations, investments are provided to support construction, planning, technical assistance, and loan fund projects. All of these funds are appropriated through EDA’s Public Works Program and EAA programs. This also includes assistance to coal communities. 

No application deadlines exist for this grant, so you can apply for EDA grants without worrying about them. 

Disaster Supplemental Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

Through these two grants, $587 million have been made available to eligible grantees. This grant caters to communities that major disasters have economically impacted. This includes natural disasters like earthquakes that occurred in 2018, and tornadoes, and floods, etc., which occurred in 2019.

No application deadlines exist for this grant, and applications will be taken on a rolling basis. This is valid until a new Disaster Supplemental NOFO is published, this NOFO is canceled, or all funds are appropriated.

EDA Planning Program and Local Technical Assistance Program (RNTA)

This is a type of NOFO grant which makes $1.5 million available for research and evaluation projects. It also makes $1 million available for National Technical Assistance Projects (NTA). Through this grant, the EDA supports the development of recommendations, resources, and tools to shape future economic development policies. It also helps to inform new economic development decisions and further appropriation of funds.  

Beware of EDA Fraud

The EDA has found that a telephone/email scam is operating right now that tells people they’ve won an EDA award. They then ask for the person’s personal information and processing fee to claim the award. The EDA has no such program and doesn’t provide grants, or financial assistance, or benefits as awards. The EDA also doesn’t require the applicants to submit processing fees.

EDA grants can truly help communities flourish and improve their lifestyles and standards of living. These grants don’t just hold the key to several communities’ livelihoods but also their transformation into elite societies. 

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