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Innovation Cluster Accelerator Program 2.0 – Washington


The Washington State Department of Commerce, hereafter called “COMMERCE,” is initiating a Request for Proposals (RFP) from industry-led consortia interested in participating in the first cohort of the Innovation Cluster Accelerator Program (ICAP).

Donor Name: Washington State Department of Commerce

State: Washington

County: All Counties

Type of Grant: Accelerator

Deadline (mm/dd/yyyy): 01/24/2022

Size of the Grant: $500,000

Duration: 17 months


ICAP is an economic development strategy to strengthen industry ecosystems and accelerate economic development.

Its goal is to support the first cohort through September 30, 2023 and expand the program over the coming decade to:

  • Grow businesses
  • Transform legacy companies
  • Accelerate new start-ups and scale-ups
  • Create high-value jobs throughout Washington
  • Increase export opportunities
  • Establish Washington as a global leader in key industry sectors

Objectives and Scope of Work

Organizations selected for ICAP will convene and manage an industry-led cluster centered on a single industry or sector. The cluster will engage in activities to:

  • Identify and solve industry-level challenges that limit growth in the industry
  • Drive innovation in the industry, such as joint research and development projects
  • Identify and pursue market opportunities as a cluster

COMMERCE is looking for organizations to propose a scope of work to best meet their cluster’s objectives. Cluster activities to outline in the cluster work plan include, but are not limited to:

  • Hiring/onboarding staff for the cluster
  • Participating in a COMMERCE-led cluster strategy and leadership development program
  • Convening cluster partners and members (i.e. meetings and work groups)
  • Conducting studies and their resulting reports (capital landscape studies, supply chain mapping, etc.)
  • Leading joint innovation projects (note that projects are not funded through current ICAP funding)
  • Other activities and deliverables as identified in the cluster work plan

ICAP clusters will also participate in the ICAP Cluster Strategy and Leadership Development Program, which includes:

  • Cluster strategy – 1-2 day sessions conducted individually with each clusters’ management team, Board of Directors, and key partners:
    • Potential clusters will participate in two sessions: Intro to Innovation Clusters and Basic Cluster Strategy
    • Emerging clusters will participate in three sessions: Intro to Innovation Clusters, Basic Cluster Strategy and Growing a Cluster
    • Growth and Super Clusters will participate in four sessions: Cluster Strategy Framework, Cluster Value Impact, Go-to-Market Strategies, and Business Model and Funding
  • Leadership development: 1-2 day sessions conducted collectively with all ICAP cluster CEOs/managers on a quarterly basis. Topics include:
    • Cluster Ecosystems
    • Market Opportunities
    • Strategic Growth and Development
    • Cluster Project Portfolios
  • Board Chair Onboarding: Three 3 hour sessions conducted collectively with all ICAP Board Chairs to prepare them to lead the cluster board.

Funding Information

  • COMMERCE has budgeted an amount not to exceed $1,500,000 for this project, up to $500,000 per organization.
  • The period of performance of any contract resulting from this RFP is tentatively scheduled to begin on or about February 21, 2022 and to end on September 30, 2023. Amendments extending the period of performance, if any, shall be at the sole discretion of the COMMERCE.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Licensed to do business in the State of Washington or submit a statement of commitment that it will become licensed in Washington within thirty (30) calendar days of being selected as an Apparently Successful Contractor.

For more information, visit Washington State Department of Commerce.

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