Last December, the WA Department of Commerce announced the Evergreen Manufacturing Growth Grant (or “Growth Grant”) intended to increase the number of manufacturing and research and development jobs in Washington State. Knowing that we meet the minimum qualifications and have aims in direct alignment with the purpose of the funds, Andy Johnston, Evergreen Bio’s Innovation Hub team leader, took the initiative in quickly submitting our application seeking $400,000 in funding.
Johnston led a meeting to plan out the application, which was well attended by many key stakeholders in the cluster and Stacy Baird, senior policy advisor to Senator Maria Cantwell. Baird’s presentation gave guidance on how best to utilize any awarded funds to achieve milestones and activities that would both meet the Growth Grant’s requirements and strengthen Evergreen Bio’s future Federal grant applications.
The energy in the meeting had a palpable sense of history in the making. Others contributing to that energy were personnel from INWAC, Impact Washington, JLL, HSSA Spokane, the University of Washington, Washington State University, Greater Spokane Inc., and ALSC, NAC and MMEC architecture firms.
Funds that Support Evergreen Bio’s Aims
The grant funds would accelerate our plans for an Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Building (Evergreen BIB), something that has been an aim of Evergreen Bio since its early inception. The Evergreen BIB would be an operable building that provides a home for emerging bioscience businesses engaged in R&D and resources to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities in the region. This building is expected to generate positive life science job growth by attracting new companies to our region and encourage the growth and expansion of local bioscience companies in Washington.
How we plan to use the Growth Grant funds
With the Growth Grant funds, Evergreen Bio would hire an architect to engage their expertise in site selection and begin schematic design which provides a preliminary layout for the Evergreen BIB. The grant request includes conducting a building requirements study to guide the architect’s work in incorporating elements that most meet cluster members’ needs and attract more bioscience companies to the region. This key study will gather information from various sources including future users and tenants of the building. Elements such as medical device manufacturing space layout, wet lab and R&D space requirements and equipment options, office space, and training/workforce development requirements.
Using Existing Resources for a Short Turnaround
The funds must be used by June 30, 2023. Meeting such a short deadline is made possible by building upon the cluster’s collaborative efforts and previous bioscience studies.
For example, the work funded by the Growth Grant would incorporate existing data from previous studies and surveys, such as the soon to be completed Greater Spokane Inc.’s Spokane Life Science Asset and Landscape Study.
Winning an Evergreen Manufacturing Growth Grant award would be a significant economic development victory for Spokane and Washington State as a whole because it is the first step toward a competitive application for an advanced manufacturing and bioscience Regional Tech Hub centered in Spokane. Successful outcomes from a Growth Grant award strengthens Evergreen Bio’s future funding applications to build the Evergreen BIB by demonstrating our capacity to collaborate on a foundational project and to achieve results with public funds and that our cluster is the place for bioscience expansion.
How to help while we wait
While we wait on pins and needles to hear back on our application, Evergreen Bio continues to work towards the growth of our regional cluster. Help us provide evidence that we have a cohesive and collaborative bioscience community dedicated to investing in our bioscience infrastructure. Join us at the next Evergreen Bio Innovation Hub team meeting to find out what you can do to support our efforts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a calendar invite.
Special thanks to Andy Johnston and Katrina Rogers for their contributions to and feedback on this post.