The Department of Commerce (DoC) is preparing to launch the application window for its $500 million Tech Hubs program, with a plan to announce the designated Tech Hubs by the end of this summer.

The Tech Hubs program – authorized as part of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act – aims to develop clusters of businesses, communities, colleges and universities, and workers focused on accelerating innovation and technology deployment across America.

“Our groundbreaking Tech Hubs program will ensure that the industries of the future, and the jobs they create, start, grow, and remain in communities in every corner of the U.S.,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said at the 2023 SelectUSA Investment Summit last week.

According to the Tech Hubs program fact sheet released by DoC’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) on April 14, the program offers two funding opportunities.

The first phase of awards will designate promising Tech Hubs across America and provide strategy development awards to accelerate their development.

EDA said it expects to designate at least 20 Tech Hubs across the country and make a commensurate amount of strategy development awards utilizing about $15 million of the $500 million available. These designated Tech Hubs will then be invited to apply for phase two.

The second phase will provide significant strategy implementation awards to help the Tech Hubs reach their full potential. EDA said it expects to make at least five implementation awards with the remaining available funding to designated Tech Hubs.

EDA said applications for the first phase should open by early May 2023 with a two-month application window. As for the second phase, the agency said it expects the announcement of designations and phase two application window to open by the end of this summer.

“When you think about tech hubs in America you think probably Silicon Valley, or New York City, Boston, or Austin, Texas. Well, we want you to start thinking about Ann Arbor, Michigan, Columbus, Ohio, you know different places in the heartland of America all of whom have leading-edge technology in their own particular area – medical devices, biotechnology, AI, quantum, robotics,” Raimondo said at last week’s summit.

“We are going to be making investments, public-private partnerships, in those geographies, which I think will really unleash an unbelievable torrent of entrepreneurship and capital opportunity,” she added.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.