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Louisville Metro, UofL seeking ideas for federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Challenge focuses on coalitions to transform regional economies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Government and the University of Louisville plan to submit a joint application for funding to the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s new Build Back Better Regional Challenge and are hosting a public pitch meeting to gather multiple project ideas that could be part of a broader proposal.

The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is designed to assist communities nationwide by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. The $1 billion Challenge will provide a transformational investment to 20 to 30 regions across the country that want to revitalize their economies. These regions will have the opportunity to grow new regional industry clusters or scale existing ones through planning, infrastructure, innovation and entrepreneurship, workforce development, access to capital, and more.

The EDA is calling for a coalition approach, bringing together state and local government, labor and community-based organizations, industry, academia, research institutions, philanthropy, and nonprofits. Successful coalitions will build technical assistance and coordination around three to eight tightly aligned projects and will receive up to $500,000 for phase 1 concept proposals. They will also be eligible to compete for phase 2 of funding of up to $75 million.

Louisville Metro Government and UofL are hosting the public pitch meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Main Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, 301 York St. Individuals or groups can stop by at any time during that window, and they will have five minutes to pitch their idea.

Attendees who wish to pitch a project idea but cannot attend the meeting may submit a concept statement of no more than 50 words to [email protected] by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 17. Selected pitches will have an opportunity to submit a one-page, 400-word summary of their proposal, along with a one-page budget summary. Ideas must be responsive to the guidelines specified in the EDA’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Initial applications are due to the EDA on Oct. 19, after which it will award 50 to 60 coalitions up to $500,000 each to draft a more detailed proposal. Those proposals are due on March 15, 2022, and will result in 20 to 30 coalitions receiving grants of between $25 million and $75 million to implement their plans.

Learn more about the Build Back Better Regional Challenge and its requirements at www.eda.gov/arpa/build-back-better.

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