The Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program provides one year funding to organizations to execute state/regional programs that increase the number of SBIR/STTR proposals (through outreach and financial support); increase the number of SBIR/STTR awards (through technical assistance and mentoring); and better prepare SBIR/STTR awardees for commercialization success (through technical assistance and mentoring).
As set forth in the Small Business Act (Rev.13) FAST awards build the SBIR/STTR ecosystem through:
- Outreach: increase the pipeline of possible applicants (see SBIR authorization language for explicit direction to increase the participation of women, socially/economically disadvantaged individuals, and small businesses in underrepresented areas, typically rural states); and build the capacity of partner organizations and individuals to refer possible SBIR/STTR applicants through train-the-trainer activities.
- Financial support: make grants or loans to applicants to pay a portion or all of the cost of developing SBIR/STTR proposals, attending relevant conferences, and bridging possible gaps between phases.
- Technical assistance: encourage the transition from Phase I to II and commercialization of technology developed through SBIR/STTR program funding; and form and or support mentoring networks to provide business advice and counseling.
FAST currently provides $3 million in total funding (up to $125,000 per applicant) for outreach, financial support, and technical assistance to next generation research and development (R&D) focused small businesses. The program places particular emphasis on helping women, socially/economically disadvantaged individuals, and applicants from underrepresented or rural areas compete in the SBIR and STTR programs.
Eligible applicants for FAST funding include state and local economic development agencies, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), accelerators, incubators, Women’s Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), colleges, universities, and more. Only one proposal is allowed per state, with an accompanying letter from a state’s governor or equivalent.
Proposals will be evaluated by review panels; the SBA, the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation will jointly review the recommendations from the panels and will make awards based on proposal merit. Varying levels of matching funds are required from each participating state and territory.
FAST Partnership Awards
Funding Opportunity Announcements
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.