Newly-designated Clusters Collectively Awarded $1.5M to Support Small Business Growth and Drive Innovation in Local Economies
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced the addition of five new Regional Innovation Clusters (RIC) to the portfolio of communities the agency supports through the program. RICs are geographically-concentrated networking hubs of small businesses, suppliers, service providers, and related institutions that work together to maximize resources, compete on larger scales, and drive innovation and job creation.
“Our nation’s innovators are critical to our economic recovery as they create jobs and strengthen our global competitiveness in key industries. Our launch of five new Regional Innovation Clusters doubles our reach and advances support of key priority industries including supply chain/logistics, biosciences, and food and ag-tech,” said Administrator Guzman. “These RICs will help our entrepreneurs connect to knowledge, networks, and capital so they can be successful in developing their innovations and commercializing them to deliver the products and services that will improve lives around the globe.”
“The SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters connect and enhance innovation assets so that small businesses can effectively leverage them to commercialize new technologies and to expand into new markets,” said Mark Madrid, SBA associate administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development. “The SBA’s new Clusters are particularly well suited to focus on small business development by optimizing strengths and resources, allowing them to compete at scale.”
Awardees were selected by the Office of Entrepreneurial Development and were based on the applicant’s proven ability to deliver the most extended support to small business entrepreneurs in the pharmaceutical and biosciences, agriculture technology as well as retail, supply chain/logistics, and food processing industries. The five Clusters were awarded $300,000 each, for a total of $1.5M that can be used to pay for events, conferences, booths, webinars, salaries, and operating costs.
The five new SBA Regional Innovation Clusters are:
Acendian LLC, Chesterfield, Mo.
Area of focus: Pharmaceutical and Biosciences
AgLaunch, Knoxville, Tenn.
Area of Focus: Agriculture Technology
Development Capital Networks LLC, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Area of Focus: Unmanned Aerial Systems
Larta Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.
Area of Focus: Bioscience
Startup Junkie Consulting, LLC, Fayetteville, Ark.
Area of Focus: Innovation in Retail, Supply Chain/Logistics, & Food Processing
The addition of these five new Clusters raises the total number of SBA-supported Clusters to 12. These new Clusters will attract, create and grow new business startups throughout several regions, expanding the connectivity of technology and promoting business formation while fostering innovation, commercialization, business acceleration, mentorship, and sustainability.
To learn more, get contact information, or obtain a complete list of SBA Regional Innovation Clusters, go to www.sba.gov/local-assistance.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality.
As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster.
It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.