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SBA Funds Three New Regional Innovation Clusters

October 15, 2015

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today the addition of three more cluster organizations to the portfolio of communities supported through the SBA Regional Innovation Clusters initiative, raising the total number of awardees in the program to 14.

The three new Regional Innovation Clusters—each receiving $500,000 for the base year of the contract, with four option years to be exercised at the SBA’s discretion, for up to a total of $2.5 million per cluster initiative—are:

  • BioSTL Bioscience Cluster, St. Louis, Missouri. Contractor: BioSTL
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Cluster, South Kansas and Oklahoma. Contractor: Development Capital Networks
  • Wood Products Cluster, Appalachian Ohio Region. Contractor: Appalachian Partnership, Inc.

The three new awardees competed with more than 40 other applicant cluster organizations.  

The SBA funding will strengthen opportunities for small businesses within each selected cluster initiative. The funds are to be used to provide mentoring and counseling services, mentor-protégé and teaming programming, and to showcase and pitch events to prospective investors and public-private sector adopters of new technology.

Supporting cluster-based economic development strategies has been a priority throughout the Obama administration as the federal government is encouraging local prosperity efforts that draw more on innovation, entrepreneurship, better alignment with existing assets or strengths, greater public-private collaboration, and systems-based regionalism. Cluster-based initiatives, specifically, focus economic development efforts to support geographically concentrated groups of interconnected businesses, suppliers, service providers, and related institutions in a particular industry or field.

While the industry focus of the 14 SBA-supported cluster initiatives varies, their core activities are similar: to act as networking hubs to convene resources to help small businesses navigate funding, procurement, and supply-chain opportunities. Through technical and legal assistance, these cluster networks also work to help innovators commercialize promising technologies needed by government and industry buyers. 

For more information on the SBA’s Regional Innovations Clusters, visit www.sba.gov/clusters.


federal agency, sba, clusters