The Economic Development Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is tasked with a large portion of the American Rescue Plan, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package. One of the major facets of the American Rescue Plan is the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. With roughly one billion dollars to disburse across industry clusters, the Build Back Better Regional Challenge originally received 549 proposals from various entities and coalitions, with projects falling under the umbrellas of sustainability, energy transformation, blue water economy, and infrastructure building and improvement. Of these 549 applicants, 60 were invited to the two-day Build Back Better Regional Challenge Technical Assistance Training in early 2022 to learn how to refine and resubmit their applications.
To ensure a seamless two-day conference, JDC Events worked with EDA to develop webinar programming including panel discussions, individual breakout rooms for each coalition, and a series of featured speakers including U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo, and Gene Sperling, senior advisor to the President of the United States.
A follow-up event in spring 2022 provided all 60 finalists with a platform to deliver their full presentations not only to EDA, but also to invited government agencies, philanthropies, and corporate representatives. While EDA will only be able to select 20-30 award winners, this showcase provided all finalists with an opportunity to connect with other possible funders and make their case for how much impact their projects might have. JDC worked with EDA to develop a plenary primary webinar session, a schedule of speakers and presentations, and the technical infrastructure to make it all happen.