Catalyst Connection Awarded $4.8 million in Federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge

Grant will be used to expand robotics and autonomous systems technology to small and medium employers in Southwestern Pennsylvania

On September 2, President Biden announced the Southwestern Pennsylvania New Economy Collaborative as one winner of the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Of the $62.7 million total awarded to our region, $4.8 million will be dedicated to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Robotics Expansion project, led by Catalyst Connection.

The SME Robotics Expansion Project will help 1,000 SMEs adopt advanced manufacturing and digital technologies, including robotics and autonomous systems. The project will support factory modernization, bring the research and development (R&D) resources of Greater Pittsburgh’s anchor institutions to these companies, expand manufacturing supply chains, and fill the region’s idled brownfields with thriving enterprises.

Small and Medium Enterprise manufacturers are a key sector in SWPA, with 2,773 establishments employing 86,000 people (7.8% of the total workforce) and contribute $14.6 billion in GDP.

Robotics, autonomous systems, and other advanced manufacturing and digital technologies – collectively know as “Industry 4.0” manufacturing technologies – are primed to significantly increase the competitive advantage of Made In America products and businesses.

Catalyst Connection will lead this project, working alongside project partners Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Manufacturing Futures Initiative (MFI), the Pennsylvania State University Digital Foundry at New Kensington, and the University of Pittsburgh – and working in alignment with other Coalition partners including the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute and Innovation Works. This project will support SMEs in both urban and rural areas of the region.

Stay tuned for more information!

If you have any questions, contact us at Catalyst Connection.