Commerce awards $2 million to encourage innovative business and … – Washington State Department of Commerce

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington Department of Commerce today announced $2 million in grants to accelerate manufacturing job growth and economic opportunity across the state with a particular focus on rural communities. Six businesses and four innovation cluster organizations were awarded $200,000 each through the Evergreen Manufacturing Grant program.
These grants support the Building Economic Strength Through Manufacturing (BEST) Act passed by the Washington Legislature in 2021 to provide a framework for adding 300,000 new manufacturing jobs over the next 10 years.
Beta Hatch, Chelan County
The grant will be used for research, development and pilot projects in Wenatchee to expand the company’s controlled environment agriculture and manufacturing of insect-derived products. Funds will support the retrofit of an existing structure and pre-construction design for the project, which will have a capital investment of $9 million and create 39 jobs.
EDGE Cluster (EDGE), King County
In partnership with Washington Maritime Blue, EDGE is launching Washington’s first private cellular network in the Tacoma tide flats. The grant supports the first phase of a project to provide coverage to multiple maritime manufacturers and is projected to create 96 jobs. Partners for this project include SAFE Boats International, Silverback Marine, Motive Power marine, Trident Seafoods, City of Tacoma, Tacoma Public Utilities, and 5g Open Innovation Lab. EDGE is in the first cohort of Commerce’s Innovation Cluster Accelerator Program (ICAP).
Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Cluster (EBIC), Spokane County
EBIC is developing the Bioscience Innovation Building (BIB), a state of the art research lab for pharmaceutical and medical device development. The BIB will encourage new R&D and manufacturing with minimal capital investment, improve collaboration between companies and academic researchers, and provide a space for bioscience workforce training. The state grant will support a site selection study and additional building requirement and preliminary design work. Once completed, the 55,000 to 90,000-square-foot building is projected to create up to 384 jobs. Partners for this project include Greater Spokane, Inc., Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County, Impact Washington, and Port of Benton. EBIC is also in the first ICAP cohort.
First Mode, King County
The company will use the new funding to support construction of a new facility to manufacture hybrid hydrogen-battery power modules for large industrial vehicles. The project is estimated to generate over $17 million in capital investment and will create 70 new jobs over the next five years.
Inland Northwest Aerospace Consortium (INWAC), Spokane County
INWAC is developing a statewide network of student-run manufacturing businesses as part of the state’s high school Career and Technical Education programs to produce workforce-ready graduates. Project outcomes include the completion of curriculum, materials and roadmap for a pilot program and eventual expansion. The program is projected to create 290 jobs. The grant is supported by $1.05 million in matching funds over four years.. Partners for this project include Greater Spokane, Inc., East Valley School District in Spokane Valley, NEWESD101, Optimal Talent Dynamics, and Wagstaff, Inc..
Ion Q, Snohomish County
The quantum computing hardware and software company will create a new research and manufacturing facility in Bothell, Washington to build quantum computers. Funding will support design and engineering work needed for their 2023 buildout. The project is expected to create more than 150 jobs and generate $7.1 million in new capital investment.
OCOchem, Benton County
The clean-tech startup company in Richland, Washington is building a new pilot production plant to manufacture renewable chemicals necessary for the agriculture and hydrogen sectors. Funding will support design and engineering work for electrolyzer equipment and additional site preparation activities. The project has matching funds of over $1 million and will create up to 200 jobs over the next five years.
Pacific Northwest Renewable Energy LLC (PNWRE), Grays Harbor
PNWRE plans a new manufacturing facility taking in waste forest biomass to create wood pellets in Grays Harbor County which is projected to create 53 new jobs and generate $155 million in new capital investment.
Sandstone Distillery, Thurston County
Funding for this manufacturing project will allow the distillery to build a larger factory, including design, pre-construction activities, site preparation and permitting. Located in the Thurston Craft Brewing and Distilling Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ), the project has a total capital investment of $1.2 million. It will create 10 to 15 new jobs and increase the production of locally grown agriculture products used in the distillery’s products.
Washington VERTical, Benton County
In partnership with the Tri-Cities Economic Development Council (TRIDEC), VERTical is developing an Advanced Manufacturing Center focused on attracting technology companies critical to the Small Modular Nuclear Reactor supply chain, including large-scale Powder Metallurgy (PM), Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) and Electron Beam Welding (EBW). The grant supports conducting a readiness assessment and business and market analysis. Total job creation is estimated to be 50 to 100 jobs. VERTical is another member of the first ICAP cohort.
“Washington state continues to invest in exploring and building new foundations for economic growth based on innovation, especially in manufacturing and clean energy,” said Chris Green, Commerce Assistant Director for Economic Development and Competitiveness. “These grants will help create opportunities in emerging technologies, build infrastructure, create jobs in new industries and drive economic benefits that strengthen communities for years to come.”
“We will use this grant to extend our efforts to convert captured CO2, water and clean electricity into value-added sustainable chemicals, fuels and materials, which will reduce the continued reliance on excavated polluting fossil fuels,” said OCOchem CEO and co-founder Todd Brix. “OCOchem is grateful to the Washington State Department of Commerce, TRIDEC and Energy Northwest for helping us accelerate R&D and engineering work toward building a large-scale carbon dioxide electrolyzer, which will move our company closer to realizing our vision of building out manufacturing efforts in Washington state.”
“This grant will enable the Inland Northwest Aerospace Consortium to take important next steps in growing the region’s talent pipeline through the creation of a full-fledged manufacturing business at East Valley High School,” said Staci Nelson, Executive Director. “Providing opportunities to explore careers and gain employable skills before graduating will give students a leg up on their futures and provide the talent I-90 Aerospace Corridor companies need to grow and thrive.”
“The Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Building will provide startups, capital, manufacturing, research institutions, and professional service providers across Washington a home to collaborate, and help to ensure Washington state remains a leader in new bioscience technology innovations,” said Andy Johnson, board member of Evergreen Bioscience Innovation Cluster (EBIC).
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