Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Essergy invites you to take a look at http://askjill.essergy.net.  Our new blog site offers free information, news, regulation updates, interpretative notes, and advice as you seek EDA funding.  Jill and Essergy have a 100% success rate in pursuing EDA funds for clients, totaling over $70 million in two decades and $11 million in commitments over the past year. 

Why should you be interested?  Because securing EDA funds has just gotten a lot more complex. On July 8th, 2010, EDA announced a new set of rules that will govern its grant-making.  You may find them at www.eda.gov.  The new rules are intended to make the grant-making process more transparent,responsive, fairer, and quicker.  That is all good news. But that does not mean that all the news is good.  Here are some not so good outcomes:
  • The burden for writing a complete application with all other funding and studies in place BEFORE applying now rests entirely on the applicant.  No longer do pre-application forms and completion promises allow applicants to “test the waters,” and work up to a full application. 
  • The burden for devising acceptable projects now rests entirely on the applicant.  EDA regional representatives no longer will make themselves available to advise and answer questions, or to help shape a proposal into one they would like to fund after the proposal is submitted.  The new application is strictly form-driven.
  • The cost burden has been shifted entirely onto the applicant.  There is now a form and a deadline for each application, not an ongoing collaboration honed by EDA help.  Applicants must do almost all the work alone, typically incurring considerable time and money cost even before applying.
  • The process favors large projects, cities, and counties and penalizes smaller municipalities,development areas, and nonprofits.  The EDA will apply one uniform set of evaluation standards to large and small entities and projects.  Smaller entities that produce fewer jobs and smaller projects risk getting shunted aside.
  • The new competitive process creates added risk for smaller entities.  Each quarter’s applicants are thrown into a single pot, independent of project size, content, or history.  Failed applicants may reapply the next quarter.  New or improved applications carry the stamp of failure, and now find themselves judged against even greater competition in subsequent quarters.
  • EDA rules are arcane and complex and applicants can be eliminated for failure to understand them even before the content of their project is considered.  Smaller entities with smaller staffs,who often have not received grants before—or for many years—remain at a distinct disadvantage.
At best, most economic development/redevelopment departments will receive one or two grants over their history.  During that time, rules will have changed significantly.   We developed http://askjill.essergy.net to address that gap, and frankly, to bring us business. We have done it before.  Many times.  EDA knows us. We also have found “holes” in the new application process that quick acting entities can take advantage of.

In addition to the freebees to be found at our site,Essergy offers paid services in application writing,project and contract administration, CEDS writing, and other services.  We love fixed price work, but work on retainer and daily rates, too.  So AskJill, askjill@essergy.net and think about us when you think EDA.  And remember that 100% success rate.

Jill Dominguez and Dr. Phil Borden

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