by Photo courtesy of Southwestern College

The U.S Department of Commerce selected Southwestern Community College (SWC) to receive a $1.5 million grant in early October to support technology entrepreneurs, catalyze innovation, and fuel economic growth.

The department’s Economic Development Administration(EDA) is awarding a total of 51 “Build to Scale Grants” totaling $47 million, to accelerate technology entrepreneurship by increasing inclusive access to entrepreneurial support and startup capital. Awardees will leverage an additional $48 million in matching funds from various private and public sector sources.

"Strengthening technology ecosystems are a critical key to the Biden Administration's efforts to build a stronger America,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Innovation and entrepreneurship have long been keys to American success and will continue to strengthen our collective economic and national security, as well as individual prosperity and well-being.”

SWC was awarded under the EDA’s Venture Challenge, which supports programs that enable high-growth technology entrepreneurship and foster inclusive access to proven entrepreneurship support models. The college also received a local matching grant of $1.5 million. 

The funds received by Southwestern Community College will implement “Village to Venture”— an initiative that aims to increase the number of technology, life science, or technologically-leveraged entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds in San Diego. The program is in partnership with the University of San Diego and the Connect Foundation. 

According to a news release, the project would design and coordinate programmatic efforts among ecosystem partners to inclusively support those entrepreneurs in accessing San Diego’s robust innovation community. The initiative will prioritize industries and product areas such as consumer products, health care/biotechnology, clean technology, hardware, and software.

The initiative will create connections by introducing entrepreneurs to potential vendors, customers, advisors, and investors.

"These projects will give the next generation of industry-leading companies a seminal boost that will result in job creation and private investment – potentially transforming a regional economy and creating economic opportunity beyond what we can foresee,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. 

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