Request for Proposal: $50,000 Capacity building funding and program support for industry ecosystem development in rural and underserved communities

The Department of Commerce is soliciting proposals to participate in the Innovation Cluster Accelerator Program (ICAP): ICAP Launch – Cohort 1. The ICAP Launch pilot program is funded through an ARPA Statewide Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to support future innovation cluster development and also explore how this model can best support regional and rural economic development.

Cohort 1 will support communities that may not have naturally occurring ecosystems nor current capacity for local innovation cluster leadership.

Intended applicants are organizations that will facilitate formalization of an industry ecosystem in at least one of the following:

  • A rural county or counties as defined by RCW 82.14.370.
  • A Persistent Poverty Community as designated by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
  • Historically underserved, disadvantaged or marginalized communities or groups.

Commerce will select four Cohort 1 organizations to receive up to $50,000 capacity building funding to support their participation in the Launch program.

Proposals Due: April 3, 2023, 5:00 PM, Pacific Time

Cohort 2 Information

Cohort 2 will support potential and emerging regional clusters with incomplete ecosystems that will benefit from support to develop early stage cluster strategy for future Innovation Cluster Accelerator application rounds. This includes Cohort 2 includes participation in the workshops and technical assistance. It does not include capacity building funding. Organizations interested in participating in Cohort 2 (no funding available) will complete a separate simplified application process and should not respond to this RFP. See the ICAP launch page for more information about Cohort 2.

Pre-proposal Conferences

Commerce will hold a combination of virtual and in person pre-proposal conferences for stakeholders to learn about program guidelines and ask questions. Both sessions will contain the same content, and all answers to questions from the session will be posted in the written Q&A document. Applicants are encouraged, but not required to attend one of the sessions.


Registration links will also be posted on the ICAP launch page.

In person

An additional in person pre-proposal conference is being finalized. Commerce will issue an amendment with conference details and also post to the ICAP launch page.

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