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Lab2Launch to Prepare Innovative Arkansans to Compete for USDA Seed Funding

Employees at the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center small business owners in Arkansas. Photo by Ben Krain.
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is a statewide economic development program based at UA Little Rock. Through its network of offices, ASBTDC works with all types of for-profit businesses, from home-based to high-tech. Clients receive one-to-one confidential consulting and cutting-edge market research at no charge, or they can expand their expertise by participating in low or no-cost events. Photo by Ben Krain.

Applications are open for the 2022 Lab2Launch Accelerator focusing on the Department of Agriculture.

Offered by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, the eight-week virtual accelerator prepares entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to tap into SBIR, the highly competitive federal Small Business Innovation Research funding program.

Also known as America’s Seed Fund, SBIR and its sister, Small Business Technology Transfer, award over $4 billion in non-dilutive grants and contracts each year to small companies to pursue the commercial potential of innovative technologies.

Lab2Launch offers step-by-step guidance on preparing and submitting a strong SBIR proposal. Participants can expect to receive all the resources necessary to prepare a competitive USDA application and will learn from one another as well as from ASBTDC staff and subject matter experts.

The center’s innovation specialist, Rebecca Todd, will lead participants through topic selection, budget preparation, writing and editing, market research and other aspects of the application process. Todd is an experienced SBIR/STTR proposal editor and reviewer who has served on USDA application review panels.

The Lab2Launch USDA cohort starts the week of July 11. Sessions are virtual, allowing companies based anywhere in the state to easily take part.

The timing of the accelerator aligns with the 2022 deadline to submit a Phase I proposal to USDA. After the eight-week program, ASBTDC will work one-on-one with Lab2Launch companies to finalize their proposals by the Oct. 6 submission deadline.

Arkansans developing new products and services that fit within the Agriculture Dept.’s SBIR objectives and research topics are encouraged to apply for Lab2Launch.

“USDA has broad research topics that generally repeat from one funding cycle to the next. One of the regular topics is ‘Rural and Community Development,’ which encompasses a range of project ideas leading to solutions that will ultimately improve quality of life for rural America. So, many companies who may have a non-agricultural customer type in mind may find that their technology is relevant to USDA’s interests,” says Todd.

How to Apply

To apply, visit There is no application fee or cost to participate.

Spots are limited. Researchers and companies seeking a first SBIR/STTR grant or contract will receive first preference.

For more information, contact Todd at 501-831-2584 or