New SBA Regulations on SBIR Stir Discussion; Comments Accepted Until July 16

Two of the Small Business Administration's (SBA) proposed changes to the federal SBIR/STTR programs have caught the attention of small business advocates and groups warning of loopholes in the language that they say could negatively impact U.S. companies and affect eligibility.

Small Business Administration Releases Funding Announcement for Regional Innovation Cluster Program

The Small Business Administration released a funding announcement for the Regional Innovation Cluster (RICs) Program. The SBA will announce up to seven RIC awards intended to support public-private partnerships that bring together businesses, academic institutions, economic development organizations and other local actors to lay the foundations of sustainable growth and economic competitiveness. Three of the awards will be set aside to support small businesses that provide cluster-related services. Proposals must be submitted by August 6, 2012.

SBA, Arizona Launch Entrepreneurship Programs for Veterans

With veteran unemployment rates exceeding the already-high national unemployment rate, organizations and agencies around the country are seeking ways to plug veterans into the innovation economy. These efforts capitalize on the leadership skills and technical knowledge of military veterans by helping them become entrepreneurs. Operation Boots to Business is a new nationwide initiative, backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), that will provide entrepreneurship training courses at military bases to help veterans transition into business ownership.

SBA Awards Will Support Regional Innovation Cluster Initiatives

The Small Business Administration (SBA) plans to make seven awards to support organizations helping to build strong regional innovation clusters. The awards will support public-private partnerships that bring together businesses, academic institutions, economic development organizations and other local actors to lay the foundations of sustainable growth and economic competitiveness. Three of the awards will go to small businesses that provide cluster-related services. SBA intends to post a request for proposals on or about July 5.

SBA Invites Licensing Applications for New $1 Billion Early Stage SBIC Initiative

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is now accepting the first stage of the licensing process for the new five-year $1 billion Early Stage Small Business Companies (Early Stage SBICs) initiative. In 2012, the SBA may commit up to $150 million to support eligible investments funds focused on early/seed stage investments.

New Export Initiatives Focus on Opening New Markets to State and Local Businesses

Since the Great Recession, Government agencies in partnership with universities, for-profit and nonprofit other organizations have undertaken new efforts and developed new initiative to increase the number of small businesses in their region or state that are exporting and increase the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting. The Small Business Administration announced the second round of funding for its State Trade and Export Promotion Grant (STEP) Pilot Grant Initiative. The Development Corporation announced Pure Michigan Export Now pilot program.

New SBA Online Portal to Connect Small Businesses with Corporate Supply Chains

The SBA announced Supplier Connection, a private-public collaboration intended to help small businesses strengthen their revenue streams by gaining access to more than $300 billion in combined supply chain spending by a consortium of 15 of America's largest corporations. Supplier Connection, a free online portal created by the IBM Foundation, allows small businesses to send information about their products and services to 15 large private sector companies.

Congress Approves Six-Year SBIR Reauthorization

After 14 short-term continuing resolutions and years of negotiations, the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Tranfer (STTR) programs have been reauthorized through 2017. The legislation changes a number of features of SBIR/STTR, including making it possible for companies that are majority-owned by venture capital firms to receive awards. President Obama is expected to sign the bill in the near future.

White House Announces $2 Billion in Capital and Resources for Startups

The White House announced two initiatives intended to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and create jobs by increasing their access to capital and resources. The first initiative focuses on providing up to $1 billion in new capital to help early-stage small businesses. The other will attempt to provide entrepreneurs with free resources and services needed to help startups grow their businesses and create jobs. Read the press release...

President Announces Capital Initiatives for Rural Small Businesses

Speaking during a Rural Economic Forum at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, IA, President Obama announced several new initiatives to promote economic growth in rural areas, including two new capital programs. The Small Business Administration (SBA) will partner with USDA to double its current rate of investment in rural small businesses to $350 million over the next five years. This will be accomplished through SBA's Impact Investment Fund.


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