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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.7 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Support Regional Economic Growth in Hawaii

The grant will go to fund the University's Innovation Challenge Program

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.7 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, to strengthen, expand, and scale its work supporting entrepreneurship and job creation. This EDA grant will be matched with $813,068 in local funds.

“Supporting our nation’s job-creating innovators and entrepreneurs is a major focus for the Biden Administration,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This EDA investment in the University of Hawaii will support collaboration between academia and business to advance entrepreneurial and workforce development efforts, creating opportunities that positively impact Hawaii’s economy.”

“The Economic Development Administration is working to support communities across the nation as they develop strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This grant will allow the University of Hawaii to strengthen and expand its Innovation Impact Challenge by implementing a strategic commercialization and workforce development pipeline based on Hawaii innovations, and by developing programs that support small business and provide training for well-paying, quality jobs.”

“This EDA grant recognizes the importance of the University of Hawaii's efforts to diversify the local economy through its growing slate of innovation, entrepreneurship and workforce development programs,” said Governor David Ige. “We’re grateful for the EDA’s continued partnership in reviving the state’s economy and strengthening our communities.”

“Through the UH’s Innovation Impact Challenge program, UH professors help develop a local workforce driving cutting-edge solutions to Hawaii’s most pressing challenges,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “This EDA grant will increase UH’s capacity for that work, to help Hawaii recover from the COVID-19 crisis and build a stronger economy for the future.”

“Last year Congress passed the CARES Act to help businesses, workers, and local communities respond to and recover from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Mazie Hirono. “With this investment from EDA, the University of Hawaii can continue the important work of helping local communities recover by promoting job creation and entrepreneurship in the state, and providing new opportunities for businesses and workers.”

“As my Hawaiʻi recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are especially focused on our elusive goal of diversifying an economy historically overly-reliant on tourism,” said Congressman Ed Case (HI-01). “I heard that increased focus recently as the host of a virtual workshop on federal grants which attracted more than 200 people. This particular EDA grant will go to boost efforts to strengthen our technology sector and encourage innovation that is crucial to our long-term economic development and resilience.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (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 flexibleEconomic Adjustment Assistance(EAA) 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.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.