The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is hitting the road this summer on an 11-state tour in a national outreach effort targeting technology communities. The tour will give small tech firms, innovators, scientists and researchers an opportunity to speak face-to-face with federal agency decision makers and gain access to early-stage funding.
Led by the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, with participation from 11 other federal agencies, the National Innovation Road Tour aims to engage small innovative firms across the country and provide seed money for research and development. The tour is designed to seek out and offer support to high-risk concepts in STEM areas that don’t get attention from private investors.
“American innovation is not restricted by geographic or cultural boundaries, and we are dedicated to supporting America’s entrepreneurs wherever they are. This tour reflects our commitment to ensuring that these innovators are aware of the resources that can help them turn a big idea into another great American success story,” said John Williams, SBA Director of Innovation and Technology.
Annually, the SBIR and STTR programs provide $2.5 billion in early-stage funding to small businesses, primarily in STEM fields. Together these programs account for more than 150,000 awards, totaling approximately $40 billion, that have kickstarted companies like Qualcomm, iRobot, Symantec and Genzyme.
The road tour stops will be hosted by local organizations involved in supporting technology-based entrepreneurship. Federal agencies in attendance include the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Institutes of Health. The tour begins May 2 in Boise, Idaho, and ends in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sept. 18.