KC, St. Louis projects land federal grants for pandemic-driven innovation

Two Missouri organizations are among 44 nationally that will get a share of $29 million in federal grant funding aimed at using innovation and entrepreneurship to address economic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced Tuesday.

The grants are part of the EDA’s Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology, or SPRINT, Challenge.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center, in partnership with KC Digital Drive, will use a $750,000 federal contribution and a $239,000 local match to support the Comeback KC Ventures project. The initiative will aim to identify COVID-related community needs and come up with technology-based solutions, according to the EDA.

The project will focus on education, health care and digital equity, and it will look to advance minority- and women-run businesses.

The St. Louis Development Corp. will use a $474,000 federal grant and a $140,000 local match to launch TechSTL. Envisioned as a consortium of entrepreneur support organizations, business associations and other groups, TechSTL aims to improve the St. Louis entrepreneurship ecosystem by expanding services like early-stage business validation and investor readiness education, according to the EDA.

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