New York, N.Y. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $486,680 in federal funds for the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator: Fashion Technology Program. This funding was allocated through the federal Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) i6 Challenge program. Specifically, the Pratt Institute will use these federal funds to assist and mentor design entrepreneurs, creative technologists, industry professionals, and students in New York City. The lawmakers said that these resources will help transform ideas into commercialized products in the region.
“The fashion and design industry is an essential part of New York City’s economy and programs like the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator will help power the City’s economy growth in the 21st century,” said Senator Schumer. “This federal funding will enable the Pratt Institute to provide local entrepreneurs in the fashion industry with the resources they need to succeed and create jobs in the region.”
“New York City has one of the most diverse and talented workforces in the entire country, along with an unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit that makes us perfectly positioned for a manufacturing boom, particularly in legacy industries like apparel and textile manufacturing,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Providing entrepreneurs, designers, and students with these resources will continue to help boost the local economy, revitalize our communities, and jumpstart new companies and jobs allowing for long-term economic growth.”
“We have a diverse community of creative people at the BF+DA and NYC is a knowledge goldmine,” said Deb Johnson, Executive Director of the BF+DA and author of the grant. “This funding is a game changer that will allow transformative ideas to become practical and socially responsible business models. The majority of our fellows are women and minority owned businesses. The BF+DA is an accessible community where talented people come together and connect the dots between sustainability, technology, entrepreneurship and local production.”
Last August, Senator Gillibrand visited Brooklyn to announce her bipartisan Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act. The legislation would grow the apparel, textile, and wearable tech manufacturing industry in Brooklyn by creating a permanent program that designates local regions as “Manufacturing Communities,” which would put them in the front of the line to receive federal economic development funding specifically for the purpose of investing in manufacturing.
The EDA’s i6 Challenge was launched in 2010 as part of the Startup America Initiative. The i6 Challenge program is a national competition that makes small, targeted, high-impact investments to support startup creation, innovation, and commercialization. EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based upon the application’s merit, the applicant’s eligibility, and the availability of funds. More information on EDA’s grant process and investment process can be found at www.eda.gov.