Arkansas State University has won the state's first U.S. Economic Development Administration i6 Challenge grant
, a $500,000 award that will help create the East Arkansas Regional Innovation System
. EARIS will promote job development in the Delta by serving entrepreneurs and inventors.
ASU's Delta Center for Economic Development
designed the project and is collaborating with the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in
North Little Rock, which help draft the grant proposal. Other partners include the A-State Catalyst Center, ASU-Newport Catalyst, East Arkansas Planning & Development District, Arkansas Economic Development Commission Manufacturing Solutions, Ritter Communications, Forge Arkansas, the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, Accelerate Jonesboro, A-State Small Business Technology Development Center
and the Delta Regional Authority.
Ritter has committed in-kind support — equipment and services — totaling $266,000 for what will be called the Proof of Concept Center
, where a maker space and co-work space will be located.
ASU's was one of 25 projects to win an i6 Challenge grant
, which have been awarded yearly since 2010.