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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.

SBA FAST Awardees to support technology-based businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration has granted 16 organizations up to $125,000 each and five organizations up to $200,000 in FY 2017 as part of the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.

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.

Does Defense have $250M IOU to small businesses?

The SBIR program has been a legislated requirement of the Department of Defense, an agency responsible for roughly 40 percent of all federal extramural R&D spending, for more than three decades. One might expect that over that amount of time, the Department of Defense would have developed a system to become compliant with SBIR’s fundamental provision that a minimum threshold of innovation research spending be directed toward small businesses. Yet, a new report from the Government Accountability Office concludes DOD couldn’t say if it was meeting the threshold because, DoD did not submit the required obligations data. The report states “DOD officials told [the GAO] that obtaining obligations data would require requesting information from more than 10 individual program offices that, in turn, would have to request the information from various DOD comptrollers, which would be a major effort.”

Budget deal supports innovation, research

Congress has passed a budget for FY 2017 that largely continues support for federal innovation programs and R&D investments. Among the highlights are $17 million for Regional Innovation Strategies (a $2 million increase over FY 2016), level funding of $130 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and $5 million for SBA’s clusters program. In reviewing dozens of line items, offices that had received significant cuts in the White House’s skinny budget appear to receive some of the largest funding increases (such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, Community Development Block Grant and ARPA-E). However, with the exception of multi-billion dollar increases for Department of Defense R&D, many increases are rather small in terms of overall dollars. This is, at least in part, a reflection of non-defense spending caps rising by only $40 million for FY 2017, limiting the availability of new funds. In this context, science and innovation gains are particularly impressive, with a five percent overall increase for federal R&D that particularly benefits NASA and NIH.

SBIR Road Tour highlights funding opportunities

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced dates for this year’s SBIR Road Tour, a national outreach effort to highlight funding opportunities through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Combined, these two programs invest more than $2.5 billion annually as a way to spur innovation. At each of the road tour’s 16 stops, innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and small technology firms will have the opportunity to meet directly with SBIR and STTR program managers at the state and federal levels to discuss the program. The tour begins in May 2017 and will continue through October.

SBA launches 2017 InnovateHER business challenge

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) launched the 2017 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge – a cross-cutting prize competition to unearth innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families.

SBA Announces Growth Accelerator Competition Winners

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and its federal partners, announced the winners of its third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition on August 31. The 68 winners in 32 states and the District of Columbia were judged by more than 100 experts from both the public and private sector with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds.

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