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St. Louis tech triangle project selected as finalist for federal grant challenge

A St. Louis technology project has been named a finalist for the U.S. Commerce Department’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge — and could receive as much as $100 million. 

Greater St. Louis, Inc., plans to create a “tech triangle” with a new Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Center St. Louis. The hub would identify and solve technology problems affecting industry growth and competitiveness, deploy next-generation technologies through multiple sectors, accelerate the transition between idea generation and production, and establish a network of qualified employees, according to the project’s description. 

The project’s goal is to harness the St. Louis metro area as a globally competitive economy for advanced manufacturing, agriculture and medical biosciences, and geospatial technology. 

Greater St. Louis, Inc., was named one of 60 finalists in the challenge — chosen out of more than 500 applicants from around the country. It is the only project in Missouri selected as a finalist. 

If it advances to the next stage of the competition, it could be awarded between $25 million and $100 million. It has already received $500,000 for being chosen as a finalist. 

“The Build Back Better Regional Challenge aims to supercharge local economies and increase American competitiveness around the globe,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “The outpouring of interest in this program shows the demand for the Build Back Better agenda and the desire to not only create good-paying jobs but also strengthen our country’s economic resiliency for years down the road.” 

The challenge, through the U.S. Economic Development Administration under the Commerce Department’s umbrella, was a result of the American Rescue Plan. It aims to provide some economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The deadline for the next phase of the project is March 15.