WASHINGTON – Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.2 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Ohio University, Athens, to provide technical assistance for biotech entrepreneurs and modify lab space at its Innovation Center. This EDA grant, to be matched with $304,225 in local funds, is expected to create 330 jobs, retain 450 jobs, and generate $25 million in private investment.

“The Biden Administration supports our entrepreneurs and the key role they are playing in ensuring that our nation not only recovers from this pandemic but builds back better,” Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said. “This EDA investment in the Ohio University Innovation Center will help to diversifying the Southeastern Ohio regional economy by expanding its capacity to assist entrepreneurs in quickly bringing their products to market.’

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development said. “This EDA investment at Ohio University Innovation Center will boost resources for entrepreneurs in the biotech industry and support the transition toward a region that can more nimbly respond to future economic disruptions.”

Gov. Mike DeWine spoke of how it is an investment in the area in general.

“Southeast Ohio is home to many entrepreneurs, and targeted investments like this will continue to promote entrepreneurship and innovation across the region,” DeWine said.

The funding for the project comes from the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

“These funds will provide Athens and the surrounding region with additional tools and resources to address the economic fallout from COVID-19,” Senator Sherrod Brown said. “Not only will this investment build up local infrastructure, but it will develop programs to help Ohioans find good paying jobs.”

“This is exciting news for Ohio University. I’m pleased to see this $1.2 million federal grant go towards supporting Ohio University’s Innovation Center,” Senator Rob Portman said. “This grant, provided through the CARES Act, will help provide assistance to biotech entrepreneurs and is expected to create hundreds of jobs while spurring millions in additional private investment. I was proud to support the CARES Act last year, and I am glad to see that it continues to help local communities in our return to normalcy as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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