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Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST) Program is a competitive grants program designed to strengthen the technological competitiveness of small businesses. It improves the participation of small technology firms in the innovation and commercialization of new technology, thereby helping keep the United States on the cutting edge of research and development in science and technology. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the American Samoa may receive funding for an array of services (e.g., outreach and technical assistance) in support of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
FAST provides about $2 million in funding (typically up to $100,000 per applicant) for outreach and technical assistance to science and technology-driven small businesses. The program places particular emphasis on helping socially and economically disadvantaged firms compete in the SBA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
Eligible applicants for FAST grants include state and local economic development agencies, Small Business Development Centers, and colleges and universities. Each state, through its governor, may submit one proposal.
FAST funding applicants are encouraged to show how they will help support areas such as:
Proposals will be evaluated by a committee consisting of small business owners, state level representatives, federal SBIR program managers and representatives of the business and academic communities. The SBA, the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation will jointly review the recommendations from the evaluation panel and make awards based on proposal merit. Varying levels of matching funds are required from each participating state and territory. The FAST Program is administered by the SBA.
Congress sought to reduce the variation within state technology programs that foster economic development among small high-technology firms. In response, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001, codified at 15 U.S.C. §657d(c), established the FAST program. The program expired on September 30, 2005 and was reestablished under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010.