A thriving entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem is one in which universities, business development service providers, companies, and other ecosystem actors coordinate and leverage each other's strengths to provide opportunities for all types of businesses.
The SBIR/STTR world is tough to navigate for many companies, and they rely upon support from a variety of entities that we call SBIR Support Organizations.
SBIR Support Organizations come in many shapes and sizes, including: FAST Grantees, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), universities, accelerators, incubators, state economic development offices, Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs), Women's Business Centers (WBCs), and other technology-based economic development groups.
SBA Funding Programs for SBIR Support Organizations
FAST is a competitive grant program that is designed to strengthen the technological competitiveness of small businesses seeking funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. It provides one-year funding to organizations to execute state/regional programs focused on technical and business assistance, outreach, and financial support.
The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) is an SBA prize competition that provides $50,000 awards to accelerators and incubators who support company formation and education on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
Each month SBA's Office of Innovation and Technology sets aside time to discuss important issues around policy, outreach, training, and more. These calls feature guest speakers such as SBIR federal program managers, center representatives, and other stakeholders with relevant messages.
2021 Schedule: Last Thursday of each month January-October, alternate dates in November and December. Calls run from 2-3 pm ET.
Sign up to join https://bit.ly/SBIRsupportlist
Train the Trainer
SBA periodically offers online train the trainer courses for individuals from entrepreneur support organizations, at no cost. Course 1 is titled Helping Potential SBIR/STTR Applicants and Course 2 is titled Working with First-Time Awardees. Participants who complete the entire sequence of lessons will receive a Certificate of Completion from SBA. More information and details on open courses can be found at Train-the-Trainer.