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HomeBBC GeneralImproving Women/Minority Access to Federal R&D Funding is a Focus of New FASTconnect Program

Improving Women/Minority Access to Federal R&D Funding is a Focus of New FASTconnect Program

January 30th, 2013 | by Kristin Burgard
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If you are part of an early-stage technology company, the government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs can be an important source of funding for your project.

Through the SBIR/STTR programs, 11 federal agencies award over $2.3 billion in non-dilutive grants and contracts annually through a competitive awards-based process. The programs encourage technology-based businesses to explore ideas and profit from their commercialization. They are a great way for technology-based companies to raise money without giving up equity.

Historically, women- and minority-owned businesses have been underrepresented in the SBIR/STTR programs, although there is renewed emphasis on improving outreach to these groups.

FASTconnect, a Michigan-based program to assist the state’s SBIR awardees in their product commercialization efforts, is also working to increase SBIR/STTR participation among women and minorities. In collaboration with TechTown, Wayne State University, Inforum Michigan, and the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), a FASTconnect pilot program seeks to educate women and minorities in Southeast Michigan about these funding opportunities and help them through the application process. Further support for participants is provided by the Michigan SBIR/STTR Assistance Program, which makes one-on-one SBIR/ STTR proposal preparation assistance available to qualified companies with costs covered in whole or in part by the state.

FASTconnect has been made possible by grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Both FASTconnect and the Michigan SBIR/STTR Assistance Program are managed by BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting. BBCetc specializes in helping emerging companies win SBIR/STTR funding and using it strategically to propel growth. For more information about both programs and BBCetc, visit www.bbcetc.com or contact Kristin Burgard, Principal Consultant, at kristin@bbcetc.com or 734-930-9741.

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