On Sept. 19, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced $1 million in grant funding for the Virginia Innovation Partnership (VIP) through the administration’s i6 Challenge. VIP, administered jointly by NVTC Board member institutions the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech as well as SRI International, brings together universities, community colleges, corporations, investment capital and other resources to create Virginia-based startup companies, attract established corporations to invest in Virginia and enhance the licensing potential for technologies.
“The Department of Commerce’s i6 Challenge is designed to encourage Americans who want to take risks with game-changing ideas, speed their innovations to marketplace and thereby empower the next generation of job creators that are so essential for an economy that is built to last,” said acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank.
VIP will receive $1 million in federal funding over two years as part of the i6 Challenge, with additional matching funds provided by corporate participants, university partners and other entities. VIP will invest $800,000 in 20 proof-of-concept projects each year, each at the $40,000 to $80,000 level. Following a statewide call for proposals, an experienced review board will select the most promising projects for funding.
In addition to strategic investments, VIP will provide project teams with a rich network of mentors to assist them in developing new businesses around their discoveries. The partnership will also hold an annual venture capital event for project teams.
In addition to U.Va. and Virginia Tech, current partners include NVTC Board members George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College, and NVTC member Virginia Commonwealth University.
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