CSU STRATA is excited to announce we have been awarded a Venture Challenge Grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA)!

This EDA grant and matching funds will enable our Lab to Life Program to expand and increase our impact through CSU startup services through 2025.

Grant Total  
Approximately $1.6 million ($746,117 Federal award + $872,628 matching funds)
Partner:  Colorado State University

Grant Summary

This collaboration between Colorado State University (CSU) and CSU STRATA (formerly known as the Colorado State University Research Foundation, or CSURF) intends to build sustainable, growth-oriented startups from CSU research. The Lab-to-Life (L2L) program was established in early 2022 to de-risk and improve outcomes of high-potential CSU startups by providing an executive team and staff for 24 months to manage key build and launch decisions. This approach will support commercialization of research-based technologies by providing a team to lead and help carry the load, rather than training the inventor to do it all themselves, which is a reason many innovations fail to make it to market.


L2L leverages the skills of experienced startup executives and Executives-in-Training (EITs) to transform intellectual property into startups over the two-year period. L2L is unique in that it targets top faculty inventors who are unable or unwilling to make the significant time commitment required to become CEO and run a company. Instead, L2L deploys its own personnel to transform research discoveries into fundable startups with 24 months of hands-on incubation, transitioning lab-based ideas into funded, independent operations with hired management teams. L2L seeks to supplement, not compete with, existing entrepreneurship programs.

We are thrilled to be selected for funding from among the 180 proposals submitted. This grant solifies the L2L program and provides valuable support for our CSU startups.
Jim Poss
Director of Venture Creation, CSU STRATA
When we began this program, I had high hopes that it was the right formula to help CSU startups by providing a "turn-key ecosystem". We are thrilled to see it come together.
Ajay Menon
President & CEO, CSU STRATA

L2L Program Startups

Tackling advanced manufacturing while domesticating the supply chain with novel carbon fiber 3D printing technologies.

Tackling the global problem of food waste with innovative fruit ripeness detection technology.


Transforming cattle manure into renewable natural gas using anaerobic digester technology.

EDA - Build to Scale Grants

The Economic Development Association (EDA) Build to Scale Program builds regional economies through scalable startups through the Venture Challenge and Capital Challenge. Learn more about the full funding opportunity (NOFO) (PDF). Apply here.

EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) leads the Build to Scale (B2S) program, which is authorized under Section 27 of the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. § 3722). Under the Build to Scale program, EDA manages a portfolio of national grant competitions that further increase the capacities of regions to plan and implement ecosystems that support innovators, entrepreneurs, and startups that are growing technology-driven businesses, creating high-skill, high-wage jobs, and building the industries of the future.

Venture Challenge Opportunity

The FY22 Venture Challenge seeks to advance technology-based economic development and through regional innovation ecosystems that promote the commercialization of new technologies, strengthen growing industry clusters, and lead to the expansion of high-paying economic opportunities in communities, regions, or combinations of regions.

The Venture Challenge awards grants to organizations that enable startups to become the next generation of globally competitive, industry-leading companies and support regions in overcoming barriers that prevent would-be innovators from accessing these opportunities.

This competition offers two funding levels—Build and Scale—designed for grantees to implement programming that reflects the maturity and capacity of their respective innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

 Competitive applications will demonstrate the ability to generate sustainable added value for the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by:

  • leveraging unique opportunities to accelerate existing technology-driven industry clusters;
  • encouraging technology transfer, innovation, commercialization, and adoption;
  • unlocking talent, capital, and other resources that, if left untapped, would inhibit regional innovation capacity and resilience; and
  • supporting cluster-aligned companies in expanding access to high-quality jobs.