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SBA announces new innovation program.

Sept 28, 2010

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced that it was supporting ten regional economic development projects through its new "Innovative Economies" pilot program.

The "Innovative Economies" pilot program aims to support regional economic collaborations by small businesses, the public sector, and economic-development organizations. Specifically, the SBA is supporting clusters in two "Innovate Economies:" Regional Innovation Clusters and Advanced Defense Technologies.

The clusters can use their SBA funding to strengthen small-business opportunities within the cluster or to provide services, such as mentoring and counseling, to small firms--or to attract increased small-business participation in the cluster.

The ten awardees were selected from a group of 173 applicants and represent a wide variety of industries and geographic areas.

According to the SBA, the "10 Innovative Economies Include:

Agriculture Innovation Cluster (Monterey--Santa Cruz--San Benito, Calif.) The AIC focus is on agricultural innovation, including production, related physical and human capital infrastructure, and leading-edge agriculture research.

Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster (N.C., S.C.) The Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster provides strategy, structure, and on-the-ground execution to grow the North and South Carolina businesses that serve the nuclear energy industry locally, regionally, and multi-nationally.

Connecticut Hydrogen-Fuel Cell Coalition (Conn., N.Y., Mass., Maine, Vt., N.H., R.I.) The Connecticut Hydrogen-Fuel Cell Coalition/Cluster, administered by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, works to enhance economic growth by developing, manufacturing, and deploying fuel cell and hydrogen technologies and associated fueling systems.

Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (Miss., La.) EIGS organizes complimentary geospatial businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions in Mississippi and the Louisiana Gulf Coast to help create a trained workforce, transfer geospatial technology from public institutions into the market, and foster new business growth. Geospatial technology is the combination of GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and satellite or aerial image-based remote sensing.

Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster (Ill.) The ISG-RIC is a collaboration of more than 100 entities (including 70 businesses) in the Chicago region, focused on the acceleration of Smart Grid innovation, deployments, and new market development. The Smart Grid is a convergence of technological and investment interests across multiple sectors, focused on using advanced technology to improve inefficient and outdated electric transmission infrastructure.

NorTech (Ohio) NorTech focuses on technology-based economic development in 21 counties of Northeast Ohio. Funds will help small business development within NorTech's FlexMatters initiative, which focuses on advanced energy and flexible electronics. Flexible electronics, which are electronic devices printed on flexible substrates, are emerging as a newly commercializable science, and a growing manufacturing opportunity.

Upper Michigan Green Aviation Coalition (UMi-GAC) (Mich.) The Upper Michigan Green Aviation Coalition is a public-private partnership with 41 active members, focused on expanding the green aviation industry.

Defense Alliance of Minnesota (Minn., N.D., S.D., Wis.) The Defense Alliance of Minnesota connects high technology innovation to defense industry opportunities and accelerating technology transfer of R&D and into commercial markets.

San Diego Advanced Defense Cluster (San Diego, Calif.) The San Diego Advanced Defense Cluster focuses on autonomous systems and cyber security, as well as other technologies applicable to defense needs.

Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation (Huntsville, Ala.) VCSI's primary focus is Aero-Space technology with applications for NASA, DoD, and NOAA. Its projects have included robotics for the detection of Improvised Explosive Devices, supporting spacecraft launches and building new micro satellites."

Click here for more information on the "Innovative Economies" pilot program.

The SBA also has partnered with the U.S. Departments of Energy, Education, Labor, the Economic Development Administration in the Department of Commerce, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster focused on green building technologies. Please click here for more information on this cluster.
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Publication:The Weekly Advocate e-Newsletter
Date:Sep 29, 2010
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