The Obama Administration is offering up to $1 million in prize money to entrepreneurs who can develop innovative ways to commercialize new technology. The U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship’s i6 Challenge is offering the prize money to six winners who develop what judges think are the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization in their respective regions, according to a White House blog post attributed to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. The challenge is part of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation, which calls on government agencies to use prizes, challenges, and awards to help create technologies that will make American industry more competitive globally. “How well America moves ideas out of the research lab and into the marketplace will help determine whether we remain the most competitive and vibrant economy in the world,” Locke said in the post. “We want to hear the best ideas from entrepreneurs, investors, universities, foundations, and non-profits across America.”
The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is overseeing the i6 Challenge with help from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. Both the NIH and the NSF have pledged to provide up to $6 million in additional funding to Small Business Innovation Research program grantees that partner with i6 Challenge winners, according to the post. Entrants have until July 15 to submit an application. The EDA website contains information about the award program, and a conference call on May 17 will provide additional details about the challenge.