Economic Development_Technical Assistance

EDA oversees three technical assistance programs (National, Local and University Center) that promote economic development and alleviate unemployment, underemployment, and out-migration in distressed regions.

These programs provide grants or cooperative agreements (referred to throughout this
document as investments) to: (1) invest in institutions of higher education to establish and operate University Centers to provide technical assistance to public and private sector organizations with the goal of enhancing local economic development; (2) support innovative approaches to stimulate economic development in distressed regions; (3) disseminate information and studies of economic development issues of national significance; and (4) finance feasibility studies and other projects leading to local economic development.

These programs aid the long-range economic development of regions with severe unemployment and low per capita income.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

University Center projects provide management and technical assistance services to communities, counties, districts, nonprofit development groups, and technology transfer assistance to firms.

Local technical assistance projects help to determine the economic feasibility of various local development projects involving industrial, commercial, and other activities.

National technical assistance projects may fund reports on innovative economic development or the dissemination of economic development information.

Agency - Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce fosters and promotes the nation's economic development and technological advancement through vigilance in international trade policy, domestic business policy and growth, and promoting economic progress at all levels.

Office - Refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for EDA regional office contact information.
Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In FY 2007, 74 projects were funded.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Technical assistance is used to provide information, data, and know-how in evaluating, shaping and implementing specific projects and programs that promote economic development in economically distressed regions.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Most technical assistance recipients are private or public nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

As defined in 13 CFR 300.3, 'eligible recipients' include a State, city, county, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of such political subdivision, an institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education, an Economic Development District organization, a private or public nonprofit organization or association, including a faith-based nonprofit organization, acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State, or an Indian Tribe, or a consortium of Indian Tribes.

Individuals, companies, corporations, and associations organized for profit are not eligible.

As used in this paragraph, 'State' includes the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S.

Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

Program funds cannot be awarded to individuals and for profit organizations to start or expand a private enterprise.

Beneficiary Eligibility

None. Investments are intended to finance projects that would be useful in alleviating or preventing conditions of excessive unemployment or underemployment.


A nonprofit organization is required to submit its articles of incorporation charters and a certificate of good standing issued by the State in which it is incorporated. Applicants must demonstrate capability to complete the work program. In addition, a recipient that is a non-profit organization must work in cooperation with a political subdivision of a State unless EDA waives that requirement because the project has a significant regional or national scope.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Except for applications that have a national or multi-regional focus, applications are subject to the requirements of Executive Order 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs" and implementing regulations at 13 CFR 302.9.

Award Procedures

EDA will award investment assistance in accord with the procedures set forth in the applicable announcement of federal funding opportunity (FFO).


See deadlines announced in the applicable FFO.


Section 207 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, as amended (PWEDA), (42 U.S.C. 3147).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From one month to four months.




Each fiscal year, two EDA regional offices will provide a three-year project period for each University Center selected for funding under the requisite competition, with the initial award being made for the first year of the project period. Funding beyond the initial year is dependent upon the availability of funds and satisfactory performance, as determined by EDA and expressed in written notice. The servicing EDA regional office will contact current University Center operators regarding the procedures for applying for continuation funding. National and local technical assistance projects are typically funded for a single project period without any pre-set expectation of renewal. Renewal of an award to increase funding or extend the period of performance is at EDA's sole discretion.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Generally, the amount of the EDA grant may not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the project. Projects may receive an additional amount that shall not exceed 30 percent, based on the relative needs of the region in which the project will be located, as determined by EDA. See Section 204(a) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3144) and 13 CFR 301.4. For projects of a national scope under 13 CFR part 306 (Training, Research and Technical Assistance), and for all other projects under part 306, after the application of the first two sentences of this paragraph, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development has the discretion to establish a maximum EDA investment rate of up to 100 percent where the project (i) merits and is not otherwise feasible without an increase to the EDA investment rate; or (ii) will be of no or only incidental benefit to the recipient. See Section 204(c)(3) of PWEDA (42 U.S.C. 3144) and 13 CFR 301.4(b)(4). Potential applicants should contact the appropriate EDA regional office to make this determination.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Generally, the University Center Program funds applications on a three-year basis with continuation awards made for each of the three years within a project period. The length of the project period for national and local technical assistance projects varies, but is usually for a period of one year. Funds are disbursed as required.

Post Assistance Requirements


Recipients must submit financial and performance reports as required by the award agreement.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, recipients that are States, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education are subject to the audit requirements contained in Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501 et seq). Commercial organizations shall be subject to the audit requirements as stipulated in the award document. States, local governments, and nonprofit organizations that expend $500,000 or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year.


All financial and programmatic records, supporting documents, statistical reports, and other records of recipients and sub-recipients are required to be maintained by the terms of the agreement. The recipient must retain records for three years after completion of the project or submission of the final financial reports, whichever is later, and have them readily available for inspection and audit.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Investments) FY 07 $8,161,852; FY 08 $9,400,000; and FY 09 est $9,400,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In FY 2007 range of investments: $690 to $430,000. The average grant for the University Center Program in fiscal year 2007 was $130,934; for National Technical Assistance projects, $266,394; and for Local Technical Assistance projects, $34,253.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

13 CFR Parts 300-302, 306.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for EDA regional office contact information.

Headquarters Office

For University Center and Local Technical Assistance grants, refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for EDA regional office addresses and telephone numbers. For National Technical Assistance grants, contact EDA, Department of Commerce, Office of Regional Affairs, 1401 Constitution Ave N.W., HCHB Room 7816, Washington DC 20230. Telephone: (202) 482-4208.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

EDA will screen all applications for the feasibility of the budget presented and conformance with EDA's statutory and regulatory requirements. EDA will assess the economic development needs of the affected region in which the proposed project will be located (or will service) as well as the capability of the proponent to implement the proposed project. Furthermore, EDA will select proposals competitively based on strategic areas of interest and priority considerations identified in the applicable FFO. EDA may also consider the degree to which an investment in the proposed project will satisfy one or more of the following criteria: (a) is market-based and results driven; (b) has strong organizational leadership; (c) advances productivity, innovation and entrepreneurship; (d) looks beyond the immediate economic horizon, anticipates economic changes and diversifies the local and regional economy and; (e) demonstrates a high degree of local commitment. An application for investment assistance must meet EDA's investment policy guidelines (as set out in 13 CFR 301.8) and other requirements as set out in the applicable FFO.

Social Entrepreneurship

Rwanda as Social Entrepreneur Fund Beneficiary

The Republic of Rwanda has been picked as one of the six African countries as beneficiaries for a new fellowship fund program designed at supporting social entrepreneurs in tackling issues on food security.

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