U.S. Small Business Administration grant extends center’s services for high-tech entrepreneurs

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $125,000 grant to assist innovative, technology-driven small businesses. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration awarded the competitive funding as part of the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. ASBTDC is one of 24 grant recipients, which include state and local economic development entities, Small Business and Technology Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, incubators, accelerators, colleges, and universities that provide support to small businesses developing and commercializing high-risk technologies.  

FAST is designed to stimulate economic development with outreach, training, mentoring, financial support, and business/technical assistance to small businesses focused on research and development. Fostering participation of women-owned, rural-based, and socially and economically disadvantaged firms to help them compete in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs is a key aim.

“SBA is thrilled to work with these organizations to increase the understanding of the SBIR/STTR programs,” said Administrator Linda McMahon. “FAST partners are an important part of the innovation entrepreneur ecosystem. They provide training, financial and technical assistance for small, next-generation technology businesses, and help them navigate federally funded innovation and R&D programs.”

The grant will allow the center to provide consulting services to more entrepreneurs seeking funding through SBIR and STTR, said Laura Fine, state director of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center. Those services include market research and proposal writing assistance.

“We look forward to helping more small firms in Arkansas commercialize their innovations,” Fine said. “We will continue to focus on assisting with SBIR and STTR proposal writing to increase the number of awards to Arkansas companies. Rebecca Todd, our innovation consultant, has a solid reputation with clients and federal program managers for helping Arkansas companies submit winning proposals.”

To encourage participation in SBIR/STTR by companies owned by women, ASBTDC will build on the success of its 2018 “accelHERate” programs with additional outreach and events geared toward women entrepreneurs.

Also, the center is a partner with the 2018 Arkansas Life Science Summit that will be held Oct. 25 in Conway.

ASBTDC will also offer additional educational opportunities for innovative Arkansas entrepreneurs and technology-based companies, specifically in the area of intellectual property.

SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provides more than $2.5 billion in early-stage seed capital totaling nearly 5,000 awards to small businesses.

Eleven participating federal government agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S.

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Small Business Administration through a partnership with the UA Little Rock College of Business and other institutions of higher education. The center assists startups, existing businesses, expanding businesses, and innovation-based businesses statewide.

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