SBA Awards Grants to 33 Organizations to Help Underserved Communities Succeed with the Small Business Innovation Research Program

Washington, Aug. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Small Business Administration issued 32 grant awards up to $125,000 each for specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research and development (R&D)-focused small businesses under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.  FAST seeks to improve outcomes in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs for underserved communities by increasing participation from women-owned, rural-based, and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses.

"As President Biden often says, great ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. Supporting all our nation’s innovative startups and increasing equitable access to federal research funding is a priority for the SBA, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it will build a stronger future for all of us," said SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman.

“Our FAST Partnership Program is designed to empower the innovation ecosystem at the local level and help underserved communities gain access to SBIR and STTR, or America’s Seed Fund -- the largest source of early-stage capital in the United States. FAST’s continued growth will strengthen the national innovation ecosystem and ensure all small businesses are better positioned in this next stage of recovery to access unprecedented investments to reimagine our future economy that will be made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.”

Recipients this year cover a wide geographic area, and include state and local economic development organizations, Small Business Technology Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, incubators, accelerators, colleges, and universities.  All organizations will provide support to small businesses developing advanced technologies. 

“The SBA’s investment in Oklahoma, through the FAST program, has been vital to OK Catalyst reaching untapped communities in the Heartland through training and mentorship programs that embolden women and minority entrepreneurs with transformational potential to launch new products and grow a business,” said Sarah Hamby, Director, OK Catalyst. “FAST funding has enabled OK Catalyst to drastically improve the competitiveness and success of SBIR/STTR proposals in our state.”

The FAST Partnership Program makes awards for a base period of 12 months, plus two optional continuation periods of 12 months, if eligible.

The FAST grantees are as follows:

Awardees – 2022 Cohort – Base Year

ArizonaArizona Commerce Authority
GeorgiaInnovation Gateway at the University of Georgia
KentuckyKentucky Science and Technology Corporation
LouisianaLouisiana Business & Technology Center/LSU
MissouriThe Curators of the University of Missouri
Puerto RicoPuerto Rico Small Business and Technology Development Centers
South DakotaSouth Dakota Biotech Council
TennesseeLaunch TN
WisconsinCenter for Technology Commercialization

Awardees – 2021 Cohort – Second Year

ArkansasUniversity of Arkansas at Little Rock- Arkansas SBTDC
ColoradoThe Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
ConnecticutConnecticut Innovations, Inc.
DelawareUniversity of Delaware
HawaiiHawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC)
IllinoisEnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois
KansasWichita State University
MarylandMaryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO)
MinnesotaMinnesota Technology Association
MississippiInnovate Mississippi
MontanaMontana State University
NebraskaNebraska Business Development Center, University of Nebraska at Omaha
New HampshireUNHInnovation
New MexicoArrowhead Center at New Mexico State University
North CarolinaFirst Flight Venture Center, Inc.
OhioOhio Aerospace Institute
OklahomaOK Catalyst
PennsylvaniaBen Franklin Technology Partners Corporation
South CarolinaUniversity of South Carolina
TexasSWTXB SBDC Technology Commercialization Center
VirginiaCenter for Innovative Technology (CIT)
West VirginiaTechConnect West Virginia
WyomingUniversity of Wyoming Small Business Development Center


About FAST

In FY 2021, $4 million total was appropriated as grants for entities to carry out targeted activities from September 30, 2021 through September 29, 2022.  Entities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to receive funding to provide outreach, technical, and financial assistance in support of the SBIR/STTR programs. Additional information can be found at


SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund. In FY 2021, eleven participating federal agencies will provide more than $4 billion in early-stage seed capital through over 7,000 awards to small businesses. Federal agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S.  Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit



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