FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Proposals to grow the Northeast Indiana workforce, create downtown vibrancy in 11 counties, or accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation are due this Friday to be included in the regional development plan.

Indiana’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) program could award up to $50 million to each region of the state.

Northeast Indiana RDA Board President Gene Donaghy said in a press release that now is the time to connect with local economic development offices on project or program proposals.

“With the July 16 deadline looming for regional projects and programs to be included in Northeast Indiana’s regional development plan, counties are holding a variety of local meetings and discussions about proposals with project and program owners to answer questions or discuss the proposal process,” noted Donaghy. “While we aren’t able to give an accurate count of projects that have applied at this time, all 11 counties are actively supporting and participating in this initiative.”

Projects and programs must be submitted through an online form to the local economic development office where the project or program is located to be considered in Northeast Indiana’s READI Program application. For projects or programs that have a regional scope or that impact multiple counties, the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) board and Local Economic Development Organization (LEDO) Council will review the application for consideration in the overall plan.

Ryan Twiss, vice president of talent initiatives for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said the Indiana Economic Development Corp. will award up to $50 million per region. In the end, the total project investment will be a mix of public funds and private matching funds, creating a substantial impact in Northeast Indiana even greater than $50 million.

“A project must be funded at least 60% from private investment, with up to 20% in public money or in-kind contributions. No more than 20% for a project may come from the READI grant or other state funding,” said Twiss. “Much like the Regional Cities Initiative, we’re working quickly to vet the most transformational regional projects and programs to develop our regional development plan and leverage public and private funds to grow our region.”

All project and program proposals are confidential and considered preliminary until finalized and presented to the RDA board. This is an extremely competitive process and there is no guarantee that all project or program proposals will be included in the plan. Further, if a project or program proposal is included in the regional plan, that does not ensure READI program funding. If a project or program proposal is not included in the plan, that does not prevent the project or program from receiving READI program funding.

To access the online project or program proposal online forms, please visit the website at or reach out to the local economic development organization in your county by visiting