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4 States Collaborate on National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab Virtual Accelerator

ASBTDC employees meet with a client to discuss their business plan.
ASBTDC employees meet with a client to discuss their business plan. Photo by Ben Krain.

Arkansas is part of the new Four-State FAST Collaborative formed to help small companies compete for National Science Foundation seed funding for innovative technologies.

In the effort, the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, based at UA Little Rock, joins three other recipients of Federal and State Technology Partnership Program grants:

  • Montana Innovation Partnership powered by Montana State University TechLink Center
  • Arrowhead Center’s NM FAST at New Mexico State University
  • Wyoming Small Business Development Center

Together, the partners are offering the SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab – NSF, an intensive four-week virtual accelerator, starting March 29. The Proposal Lab will show companies from the four states how to prepare winning proposals for NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program. The timing of the accelerator precedes the agency’s June application deadline.

“Early-stage and established Arkansas companies with ideas for products and services that are new to the market and align with one or more of NSF’s technology topic areas are encouraged to apply for the Proposal Lab,” said ASBTDC’s Innovation Specialist Rebecca Todd.

Participation in the accelerator is free, but spots are limited. Arkansas companies may apply online through Feb. 28 at

With NSF, Project Pitch Comes First

The NSF requires applicants to have an approved Project Pitch prior to submitting an SBIR/STTR proposal. Only companies with agency-approved pitches can participate in the Proposal Lab.

The Four-State FAST Collaborative will host a Project Pitch webinar on Feb. 10. Register for the free webinar at

NSF is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in SBIR and one of five STTR agencies. Considered “America’s Seed Fund,” SBIR/STTR provides $4 billion in competitive grants and contracts to small companies annually.

ASBTDC State Director Laura Fine expects the four-state partnership to build on the success of the center’s Lab2Launch SBIR/STTR accelerator program.

“The last two years, we’ve had a great response to the virtual Lab2Launch format. The companies learn a great deal from each other, so having the chance to engage with participants and leaders from other states will enrich the experience even more,” she said.

With funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the members of the Four-State FAST Collaborative all support small businesses developing advanced technologies and seek to improve SBIR/STTR outcomes for women-owned, rural-based and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses. For more information, contact Todd at or 501-916-6721.