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SBA Announces Funding Available to Support Regional Clusters, Job Creation

Applications accepted beginning July 7 to fund as many as 15 existing
clusters


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today the
availability of funding to support economic development and job creation
through existing regional clusters. As part of its Regional Cluster
Initiative, SBA will accept proposals from local and regional cluster
initiatives beginning July 7 for funding of up to $600,000 per cluster
to support up to 15 projects across the country. Proposals should be
submitted by the cluster's coordinating entity.


SBA's Regional Cluster Initiative focuses on accelerating small business
growth and job creation through clusters that leverage and align a
region's economic, business and workforce assets. Regional clusters are
networks of organizations and businesses in a geographic area that grow
through increased collaboration, efficiency and innovation.


"Clusters bring together many businesses and organizations in a region
to maximize the economic strengths of that region, enhancing its ability
to compete on a national and global scale," SBA Administrator Karen
Mills said. "SBA is committed to providing both financial and technical
assistance resources that can be a catalyst for accelerating a regional
cluster's viability and lead to sustainable economic growth and job
creation."

SBA is launching two programs within its Regional Cluster Initiative:
Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) and Advanced Defense Technologies
(ADTs). Prospective offerors for both solicitations may find additional
information through the Federal Business Opportunities website (
www.fedbizopps.gov <http://www.fedbizopps.gov> ).

Information on the RIC solicitation (SBAHQ-10-R-0021) is available at
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=7e3fa820644db3b29f9
9bb14adec6b5b&tab=core&_cview=0
<https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=7e3fa820644db3b29f
99bb14adec6b5b&tab=core&_cview=0> .

Information on the ADT solicitation (SBAHQW-10-R-0022) is available at
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=78cf4bab7dd00d2c2e4
754d857ad59ab&tab=core&_cview=0
<https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=78cf4bab7dd00d2c2e
4754d857ad59ab&tab=core&_cview=0> . Clusters may apply to only one
program.


Regional Innovation Clusters



Successful offerors will receive a one-year contract with an option for
an additional year to provide business training, commercialization and
technology transfer services, counseling, mentoring and other services
that support the growth and development of small businesses in the
cluster area and its industries.

SBA will select clusters across the country that meet specified
criteria. In each initiative, interested offerors will be asked to
demonstrate that they have the partnerships, technical capacity and
local assets to support their existing regional cluster.


Regional Innovation Clusters will be assessed on the impact they will
have on the region's economic growth, creation of sustainable jobs and
the opportunities the cluster provides for small businesses.


Advanced Defense Technologies

SBA is working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to identify
areas around the country where regional innovation clusters can help
meet critical defense technology needs. Successful offerors that meet
specified criteria will receive a one-year contract with an option for
an additional year to provide business training, counseling, mentoring,
matchmaking, and other services to small businesses that focus on
critical DOD technologies.

Areas of high-growth potential critical to DOD include, but are not
limited to, advanced robotics, advanced defense systems, power/energy
innovations, cyber-security and applied lightweight materials. In each
project, interested offerors will be asked to demonstrate that they have
the partnerships, technical capacity, and local assets to support
developing or existing regional clusters.

Experience working with DOD's Small Business Innovative Research program
and defense technology development programs is preferred. Offerors with
Defense Security Service Facility Clearances who can hold security
clearances and discuss classified material on site are also preferred
but not required.

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