Innovative Economies under SBA’s Cluster Initiative
Resources and Insight | 2 Min Read
Back in July, the SBA created an initiative which entailed creating 10 economic "clusters" (defined by the SBA as “collaborations between small businesses, the public sector, economic developers, and local institutions to advance a local industry sector”) that have been called “Innovative Economies.” Those small businesses awarded each received a cash grant of $600,000 which was given to each cluster’s organizing entity to build viable opportunities for the small businesses within each of the various clusters. Cluster development strategies are a tool for the promotion of the economic development in a region. SBA sought proposals from entities that lead regional cluster projects that will provide services to small businesses involved in clusters such as training, counseling, mentoring, technology transfer assistance and other services relevant to small businesses.
The awardees were announced on September 20, 2010 and supported two types of innovative economies: Regional Innovation Clusters and Advanced Defense Technologies. These ten 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.
Information on awardees found at: http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_homepage/news_release_10-50.pdf
To find information about any upcoming SBA Cluster Initiative Programs please visit: http://www.sba.gov/clusters/index.html
About Steve Young
Steve serves as the Director of the Technology Resale division. Steve manages all aspects of Winvale’s GSA Schedule contracts. Steve also leads the company in RFP/RFQ responses where Winvale is the Prime Contractor. Responsible for over 60 manufacturers on Winvale’s GSA Schedule contracts, Steve insures that each manufacturer’s products or services are compliant and within scope of each GSA contract.