Local Assistance Glossary

Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program Awardee Awardees of the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program provide financial support, technical assistance, and mentoring to SBIR/STTR applicants and awardees.  Technical assistance encourages applicants/awardees to transition from Phase I to II and commercialize technology developed through SBIR/STTR program funding.  Mentoring networks provide business advice and counseling. Financial support is in the form of 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.  Organizations with FAST funding conduct outreach or run programs to increase the participation of women, socially/economically disadvantaged individuals, and small businesses in underrepresented areas, typically rural states.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) MEP Centers work with manufacturers to develop new products and customers, expand and diversify markets, adopt new technology, and enhance value within supply chains.  Centers are located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and comprise the MEP National Network.  As a public-private partnership, the MEP Program serves as a bridge to other organizations and federal research labs that share a passion for enhancing the manufacturing community.  The MEP program is based at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
SBA Regional Innovation Cluster (RIC)

Cluster initiatives focus on growing small businesses in the most promising industry sectors across the country.   From wood-products manufacturing in rural Ohio to advanced autonomous systems work in Southeastern New Mexico, each cluster purposely integrates small, medium and large companies and universities for business, funding and research opportunities that create jobs, attract capital and have long-term, positive economic impact.  As public-private partnerships, SBA clusters offer services to connect small businesses into the larger regional supply chain. Depending on the industries of focus,  each cluster provides a unique set of services for small businesses, but at the core, each offer specialized small business counseling and mentoring.  A centerpiece of many of the SBA clusters in high tech sectors is targeted workshops on SBIR funding, connections into R&D labs, and assistance in acquiring patents.

SBA Growth Accelerator (GAP) SBA Growth Accelerator awardees are accelerators, incubators, and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models (e.g., co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces) that support the development of small businesses and startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of capital (e.g., venture capital, other investors).
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) SBDCs provide aspiring and current small business owners a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services including: business plan development, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help, 8(a) program support, and healthcare guidance. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and funded in part through a partnership with SBA.
State Contact (STATE) State Contacts are other organizations often affiliated with state/local government programs that support the innovation entrepreneur ecosystem.
Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) PTACs provide technical assistance to businesses that want to sell products and services to federal, state, and/or local governments.  Mostly free of charge, a PTAC representative can help a business:  1) determine if it is ready for government contracting, 2) determine where and how to register in government marketplace databases (e.g., SAM, GSA Schedules), 3) obtain applicable small business certifications, 4) research past contract opportunities, and 5) identify and bid on contracts.  For awarded contracts, a PTAC can help measure performance and assist with contract audits.


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