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Ford launches grant program for Memphis area innovators to find new ways to improve transportation

The program will provide up to $150,000 total for Memphis area entrepreneurs who bring the best ideas for how we can get around the region better.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — While Ford BlueOval City in Haywood County is under construction - and will build electric trucks and their batteries starting in 2025 - Ford also wants to reward other innovators in the Memphis area.

Tuesday, at the Greater Memphis Chamber's annual luncheon, Ford unveiled a new grant program for new ideas to get those in West Tennessee around better, in areas large and small.

The contest asks entrepreneurs to bring forward their best transportation improvement pitches.

"The goal is to have new mobility innovations on the road and have a unique dynamic of stakeholders to really shine a light on the role," Jack Gray, co-founder for Ford City:One, said.

The Memphis area will be the ninth area to participate in Ford's innovation grant program, following recipients in places such as Austin, Detroit and Indianapolis.

"Everything from wayfinding solutions for people with cognitive disabilities to mobility hubs to pick up drop-off solutions for school age children to reduce congestion, we don't really prescribe the type of solution that we are looking for," Gray added.

Greater Memphis Chamber President Ted Townsend said the announcement plays into broader transportation challenges and opportunities to get more in our area to and from work easier.

"We know that the jobs we've announced over the last couple of years don't matter unless people have access to those jobs, so real mobility, transportation mobility, equates to economic mobility and that's what we are dedicated to," Townsend said.

Ford will release details in the coming months of how entrepreneurs can apply. There will be no age or business experience requirements.

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