PRESS RELEASE: 401 Tech Bridge Awarded $725K EDA Grant to Expand the Blue Tech Sector in Rhode Island

PRESS RELEASE: 401 Tech Bridge Awarded $725K EDA Grant to Expand the Blue Tech Sector in Rhode Island

U.S. Economic Development Administration Grant Will Accelerate Innovation in Undersea Technology and Offshore Wind

PORTSMOUTH, RI – April 13, 2021 401 Tech Bridge, an economic development organization that connects manufacturers, small businesses, research and development entities, trade organizations and state and defense agencies to collaborate in the development of new advanced materials and technologies, today announced that it has been awarded a $724,674 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge to grow the Blue Tech sector in Rhode Island. The SPRINT Challenge was created last year by the CARES Act with the aim of harnessing America’s entrepreneurial talents to address the economic and health risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

401 Tech Bridge will use the funding to leverage existing areas of strength in Rhode Island that comprise the Blue Tech sector, including advanced materials, defense, and offshore wind energy, and increase connectivity among proven programs and organizations to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization in the sector.  A central part of the effort will be a partnership with MassChallenge to create a Blue Tech Accelerator and fellowship program to help startups launch and grow. 401 Tech Bridge will also collaborate with its network partners, including Polaris MEP, the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology (NIUVT), the Composites Alliance of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN), and the NavalX Tech Bridge, to link companies to funding resources and business opportunities in the Blue Tech sector.

“We are thrilled to be working with 401 Tech Bridge to deploy the EDA SPRINT funding to expand opportunities for Blue Tech startups in Rhode Island,” said Hope Hopkins, managing director, Early Stage, New England at MassChallenge. “This grant provides an opportunity for Rhode Island to become a driver of innovation in ocean technology, which will spur economic growth, job creation, and benefits for us all in the years to come.”

401 Tech Bridge was one of only 44 organization nationwide to receive the EDA SPRINT Challenge grant, out of more than 200 applicants. The awardees are located in 25 states and Puerto Rico and will leverage approximately $9 million in additional matching funds from various private and public sector sources.

“This grant is a significant win for Rhode Island that will advance our strategy for a blue economy and position the state to emerge as a leader in ocean innovation,” said Christian Cowan, COO of URIRF and executive director of 401 Tech Bridge. “401 Tech Bridge is proud to have won this federal support to continue our important work creating opportunities for start-ups and existing companies to develop their technology, connect to opportunities within the blue economy, and access job programs and other services to grow and sustain their businesses.”

About 401 Tech Bridge

401 Tech Bridge accelerates the journey from concept to prototype to commercial scale while creating business opportunities. It facilitates collaboration across industry, government and academia and leverages the resources and expertise of its vibrant advanced materials and technology ecosystem, which spans industries and activities ranging from infrastructure development and naval research to oceanographic and offshore wind enterprises. 401 Tech Bridge offers meeting, training, lab and equipment space for industry, government, and academic partners to collaboratively problem-solve, develop concepts, build and test prototypes, and present solutions. It also connects companies into research divisions at the University of Rhode Island and other universities and institutions across the region, offering facilities for research, prototyping, testing and validation of concepts alongside faculty researchers and students.

The 401 Tech Bridge is a business unit of The University of Rhode Island Research Foundation, and serves as a partner intermediary organization for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport, supporting the Naval X Northeast Tech Bridge. It receives support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, The Rhode Island Foundation, and the Van Beuren Charitable Foundation.

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For media & PR inquiries:
SVM on behalf of 401 Tech Bridge
Jill Colna or Hillary Lima