Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - President Joe Biden announced Friday that the Alaska Mariculture Cluster, led by Southeast Conference, is among the 21 winners of the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge is a competitive federal grant program that provides each regional coalition with significant investments to tackle entrepreneurial support, workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation, in order to drive inclusive economic growth.
Funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the Regional Challenge is awarding approximately $49 million in grants to the Alaska Mariculture Cluster, led by the Southeast Conference, to catalyze a sustainable mariculture industry in Alaska.
According to the EDA, the Alaska Mariculture Cluster will support the region’s growing mariculture industry and ensure that it provides shellfish and seaweed for the long-term benefit of Alaska’s economy, environment, and communities.
Projects include the creation of a Revolving Loan Fund to provide funding for local businesses to grow, development of mariculture-focused workforce training programs, and research support to grow innovative seaweed and shellfish products.
The coalition will operate in partnership with Sealaska, with the goal of ensuring the cluster’s approach centers the priorities of tribal, rural, and underserved communities.
The Southeast Conference Alaska Mariculture Cluster is one of 21 winners – each a regional coalition of partnering entities – that will receive awards between $25 million and $65 million to implement an average of six integrative projects that enable each region's economic transformation and competitiveness.