SBA Helps Build, Fund 'Innovative Economies'
More than 170 applicants submitted proposals for a new SBA pilot program that aims to help small businesses tap into their respective region's economic assets.
The agency selected 10 for its Innovative Economies program. The SBA is supporting two types of innovative economies: Regional Innovation Clusters and Advanced Defense Technologies. The seven regional clusters will focus on providing business training, commercialization, technology transfer services, counseling, mentoring and other services that support the growth and development of small businesses in the cluster region.
The three advanced defense technology clusters will focus on providing business training, counseling, mentoring, matchmaking and other services to small businesses that focus on Department of Defense technologies. The SBA said it worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to identify areas around the country where regional innovation clusters can help meet critical defense technology needs.
"Maximizing a region's economic assets is one of the best ways to create long term job growth, and that's what SBA's new Innovative Economies pilot initiative is doing," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "SBA's support will help expand the opportunities and the role small businesses play in these regional collaborations, which are enhancing the ability to create jobs locally and compete on a national and global scale."
The 10 innovative economies are:
Agriculture Innovation Cluster (Monterey - Santa Cruz - San Benito, Calif.)
Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster (N.C., S.C.)
Connecticut Hydrogen-Fuel Cell Coalition (Conn., N.Y., Mass., Maine, Vt., N.H., R.I.)
Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (Miss., La.)
Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster (Ill.)
Upper Michigan Green Aviation Coalition (Mich.)
Defense Alliance of Minnesota (Minn., N.D., S.D., Wis.)
San Diego Advanced Defense Cluster (San Diego)
Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation (Huntsville, Ala.)