small business

SBA Announces $2M for Organizations to Help Small Tech Companies Commercialize New Technologies

The Small Business Administration released its annual solicitation for the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program, a competitive grants program for eligible organizations to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance services to technology-based small business owners. The program places particular emphasis on organizations that propose helping socially and economically disadvantaged firms compete in the SBA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Each state, through its governor office, may submit one proposal in FY15 for an eligible organization (e.g., state and local economic development agencies; Small Business Development Centers; and, colleges and universities). Applications are due April 10.  Visit the FAST Partnership Program website…

SBA Licenses First Impact Fund In Michigan

Michigan's InvestMichigan! Mezzanine Fund is slated to become the Small Business Administration's (SBA) first licensed Impact Investment Fund through the agency's new Impact Investment Initiative. The SBA initiative, which is part of the White House's Startup America initiative, uses the existing infrastructure of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program to encourage small business growth. Participating funds must make place-based investments in small businesses in underserved areas, or investments in the clean energy and education sectors. SBA will provide $80 million to the Michigan fund, along with another $15 million from Dow Chemical Company and $35 million from Michigan Growth Capital Partners. Read the announcement...

SBA Official to Address SSTI Conference

Regular readers of the Digest know that over the last year, SBA has launched a set of new programs and initiatives, including support for cluster development, changes to the SBIC application process, the revival of the FAST program, and a request for information on mentoring and entrepreneurship education for high-growth companies. At SSTI's 14th Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Sean Greene, SBA's Associate Administrator for Investment and Special Advisor for Innovation, will provide an update on what he and his colleagues at SBA have been working on and are planning for the future. With SBA pursuing a larger role in issues involving tech-based economic development, this session will provide an excellent chance to understand what lies ahead for SBA — and the opportunities presented for regional innovation strategies.

SBA Announces 2010 FAST Award Recipients

Twenty universities and organizations received $100,000 grants to support R&D and small business innovation under the U.S. Small Business Administration's FAST program. The program is designed to stimulate economic development among small, high-tech businesses through federally-funded innovation and R&D programs such as the SBIR and STTR programs. The project and budget periods are for 12 months beginning Sept. 30, 2010, according to a press release. Connecticut Innovations, Inc., Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Kentucky Science and Technology Corp., and Virginia Center for Innovative Technology are among the awardees. A complete list of recipients is available at:

NC Budget Boosts Funding for Life Sciences, Small Businesses in FY11

Several components of Gov. Bev Perdue's JobsNOW small business package related to tech-based economic development efforts in North Carolina were approved in the FY11 budget signed into law on June 30. A program to provide matching funds for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) will see its budget more than double in the second year of the biennium and life science programs will receive more than $22 million in recurring appropriations. The enacted budget also extends to Jan. 1, 2013 the Qualified Business Investment Venture credit, which provides a capped incentive for angel investment in cutting-edge industry sectors. The governor had proposed raising the cap from $7.5 million to $10 million, a measure that was not included in the final budget.

SBA Seeks Input on High-Growth Entrepreneurship Mentoring, Education

Do high-growth, tech entrepreneurs require different mentoring and educational assistance than other entrepreneurs? The Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on successful models, metric and programming for high-growth entrepreneurial mentoring and education. Responses will be used to shape future initiatives at SBA and other federal agencies. Comments must be received by July 12. The RFI and a presentation on the request are available at:

NC Gov Unveils JobsNOW Legislative Package

Gov. Bev Perdue last week announced a number of proposals designed to grow the state's economy and create jobs by focusing on the small business sector. The JobsNOW Small Business Assistance Package involves three areas of assistance, including tax incentives, statewide support for small businesses, and expanding the N.C. business preference to help small businesses compete for state contracts. Proposals include tax credits for investors in innovative startup companies, expanding the cap from $7.5 million to $10 million on the qualified business venture tax credit, and providing a matching state grant to help North Carolina businesses compete for SBIR funding. Gov. Purdue also is expected to recommend adjustments to the biennial budget next week. Read the press release.

SBA Raises SBIR Award Threshold

On March 30, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a Notice of Final Amendments to the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Policy Directive increasing the SBIR Program award threshold to $150,000 for Phase I, up from $100,000, and $1 million for Phase II, up from $750,000. The current award threshold has not been adjusted since 1992 when Congress reauthorized the program's legislation. SBA received only two public comments, both supporting the proposed amendments, between August and September 2008. The notice is available at:

$2 Million for FAST in SBA Budget

The program has not been authorized yet, but that did not stop Congress from including $2 million in the FY10 Consolidated Appropriations Act for the Federal and State Technology Partnership Program (FAST). The funding, tucked in one sentence of the conference report for the Small Business Administration appropriations, will provide grants to state-based SBIR/STTR outreach and assistance programs on a competitive basis. Enabling legislation for FAST is contained in SBIR’s Reauthorization, which has been stalled in contentious conference negotiations for several months.

SBIR Drama to Drag Out Two More Months (at least)

Congress has approved a two-month extension for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, which was set to expire on Friday, July 31. S. 1513 extends the program in its current form until Sept 30, 2009, which coincides with the end of the federal fiscal year.


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