The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded a $125,000 grant to the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) at the University of Little Rock.
The grant will be utilized to help Arkansas companies applying for Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) grants. ASBTDC received the grant as part of the Federal and Technology (FAST) Partnership Program, which seeks with provide training and technical assistance for research-and-development focused small businesses.
ASBTDC is one of 24 recipients of the FAST grants.
“The SBIR/STTR program stimulates high-tech innovation and is a tremendous resource for Arkansas’s innovative entrepreneurs. We are eager to help more Arkansans, includingwomen, minorities, and rural entrepreneurs, compete and win SBIR and STTR awards,” ASBTDC state director Laura Fine said in a statement.
The grant funds will be used to offer mentoring, educational programming and a mini-accelerator program for companies. According to a UA Little Rock release, the ASBTDC will provide a multi-week accelerator program for companies that have not received SBIR/STTR funding, as well as offering “accelHERate” TED-style events to encourage women entrepreneurs. There will also be general educational programming on the SBIR/STTR funding opportunities.
For the accelerator program, there will be two cohorts. One will focus on the National Institutes of Health, and the second will focus on the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Our FAST partners address the unique needs of next-generation, high-tech small businesses. The program supports innovative entrepreneurs from underserved communities by helping them start and grow—a primary mission for SBA,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said. “Programs like FAST are more critical than ever as the SBA is laser-focused on helping small businesses recover and once again propel the national economy forward. The SBIR and STTR funding can be the early seed capital to jumpstart companies today and make them successful in the future. Some of our nation’s leading technology firms got their start with SBIR funding, and FAST is helping expand those opportunities to other entrepreneurs.”