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SBA: Small business share of GDP continues structural decline

The share of the nation’s economy stemming from small businesses — “the lifeblood of the U.S. economy” — has waned since 1998, according to a new report by Kathryn Kobe and Richard Schwinn on behalf of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Despite overall growth in small business GDP, the number of small businesses and their employment levels have not yet recovered from their pre-recession value.

SBA grants $3 million to support small business innovation and R&D commercialization

Twenty-four local economic development entities, Small Business Technology Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, incubators, accelerators, colleges and universities were granted $125,000 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. The 24 grant recipients, including seven that are members of SSTI (boldfaced below), provide support to small businesses developing and commercializing high-risk technologies.

SBA announces funding for regional innovation clusters

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced its intention to award up to seven contracts for entities to lead regional innovation cluster initiatives. While two of the awards are partially set-aside for qualified small business, the remaining five are being competed full and open, meaning any entity is eligible. Each contract will be for a base year and four option years, with a base-year price not-to-exceed $500,000. An overview webinar will be held by the Program Office on Aug. 8, 2018, beginning at 4:00- p.m. EDT, and a link to this webinar will be provided on the solicitation’s FedBizOpps page.  Proposals are due Friday, Aug. 24.

Four ways the White House reorganization plan could affect American innovation

The White House Office of Management and Budget released Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, a plan for reorganizing federal agencies. On topics related to innovation, the wide-ranging plan would make changes to education, workforce, economic development, small business and more. Some of the suggestions could advance with administrative actions only, while many will require congressional support.

Senate committee would fund Regional Innovation at $25 million

The Senate Committee on Appropriations this morning advanced a funding bill that includes $25 million for Regional Innovation Strategies — $4 million more than the current funding round.

SBA & Treasury plans show less support for entrepreneurs

The U.S. Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury have released strategic plans through FY 2022. Similar to the new Department of Commerce plan, these documents do not mention programs and offices that the administration has marked for elimination, creating a lack of clear strategic direction for millions of dollars in entrepreneurship and innovation funding that Congress continues to appropriate and direct. Specific areas of concern at these agencies are the SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters and Growth Accelerator programs and the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Final FY 2018 budget increases Regional Innovation, MEP, NSF

With final passage and signage pending at the time of publication, the federal budget for FY 2018 provides relatively strong support for innovation economies. The Regional Innovation Strategies program is funded at $21 million, MEP at $140 million and the National Science Foundation at $7.8 billion, increases for all organizations. Other notable innovation programs receiving at least level funding are SBA’s cluster and accelerator programs, DOE’s ARPA-E, NASA science and the National Institutes of Health.

SBA announces 20 winners of Growth Accelerator Fund competition

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the 20 recipients of the fourth Growth Accelerator Fund competition. The winners, which represent a broad set of industries and a diversified range of demographic groups, will each receive a cash prize of $50,000 to address gaps in regional entrepreneurial ecosystems as part of the award. Awardees will be required to submit quarterly reports for a year, and must report or provide their metrics, including jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained. 

SBA reverses decision on SBIC investments in passive companies

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that is withdrawing a December 28, 2016, final rule concerning Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) investments in passive businesses – a small entity that does not engage in regular and continuous business activity.

US House appropriations bills would make major cuts to innovation

The House Appropriations Committee began releasing FY 2018 “markup” budget bills this week, and the proposals would cut billions in non-defense spending. EDA would lose $100 million* in funding, SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs would lose $34 million, NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership would lose $30 million, and Energy’s ARPA-E would be eliminated, among other cuts.

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