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Commerce Launches New Challenge to Bring Your Ideas to the Market Faster

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announces the i6 Challenge to help spur the industries and jobs of tomorrow by awarding the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization in regions across the country.

When President Obama unveiled his innovation policy last year, he said, “In our increasingly interconnected and globally competitive world economy, unleashing innovation is an essential component of a comprehensive economic strategy…[T]he greatest job and value creators of the future will be activities, jobs, and even industries that don’t exist yet today."

To help spur the industries and jobs of tomorrow, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship today announced the i6 Challenge – where we will award up to $1 million each to six winning teams with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization in their regions.

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. And we want to hear the best ideas from entrepreneurs, investors, universities, foundations, and non-profits across America.

The i6 Challenge is being administered by the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). We are also partnering with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF), who have pledged to award up to $6 million in additional funding to their Small Business Innovation Research grantees that partner with i6 Challenge winners.

That’s a total of $12 million that will be working to help bring innovative ideas to market quicker.

I encourage anyone interested in participating in the i6 Challenge to submit their application by the July 15, 2010 deadline. For more information, please go to where you can learn more about a special conference call for potential applicants on May 17, 2010.

Gary Locke is the Secretary of Commerce