The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is going statewide in its support of creating startup businesses, innovation and the commercialization of life sciences technologies.

The effort is being made possible by a three-year, $500,000 grant from the Department of Commerce.

The grant program is aimed at spurring new business formation, job creation and the development of groundbreaking technologies. It will help the BioInnovation Center expand statewide the free direct business planning assistance and educational programming that it already offers New Orleans entrepreneurs.

“This grant builds on prior state investments to fund the expansion of our programming and allow us to support more entrepreneurs, new job creation and economic growth across Louisiana,” the center’s President Aaron Miscenich said. “Researchers at institutions around the state frequently discover potential new disease treatments, vaccines and other advances, and this grant will allow us to help more of these entrepreneurs access critical resources, build their business skills and ensure that these life-saving breakthroughs reach patients.”

“We want to ensure that all entrepreneurs have access to the tools they need to move their ideas and inventions from idea to market,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said in announcing the grant under the Regional Innovation Strategies program. The program is run by the department’s Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The BioInnovation Center is one of 17 grant recipients nationwide from among more than 240 applicants.

Startups supported by the BioInnovation Center in Greater New Orleans have created over 275 jobs and raised more than $80 million to develop new health care and environmental technologies. The center offers labs, offices and conference facilities to emerging businesses, in addition to providing educational programming, a loan program and free business planning and strategy assistance as they develop.