White House Offers $1 Million Innovation Prize - InformationWeek
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White House Offers $1 Million Innovation Prize

The Department of Commerce's i6 Challenge will award cash to entrepreneurs who find innovative ways to commercialize new technology.

The Obama administration is offering up to $1 million in prize money to entrepreneurs that can come up with innovative ways to commercialize new technology.

The U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship's i6 Challenge is offering the prize money to six winners who invent what judges think are the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization in their respective regions, according to a White House blog post attributed to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.

The challenge is part of Obama's Strategy for American Innovation, which calls on government agencies to use prizes, challenges, and awards to help create new technologies that will make American industry more competitive globally.

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

The administration also has enacted an incentive strategy internally to inspire government agencies to use technology more creatively as part of the Open Government Directive. The directive is a mandate for government agencies to make government services more accessible and agencies' activities more transparent to the public.

The Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration is overseeing the i6 Challenge with some help from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

Both the NIH and the NSF have pledged to provide up to $6 million in additional funding to any of their Small Business Innovation Research program grantees that partner with i6 Challenge winners, according to the post.

Entrepreneurs have up to July 15 to submit an application, and there will be a conference call on May 17 to provide more information about the challenge. The EDA Web site also has information about the award program.

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