SBA Funds Small Businesses in 'Innovative Economies'

Today the Small Business Administration announced a new grant-giving initiative for technology-based businesses in communities throughout the United States. Most of the grant recipients fall under the categories of agriculture and defense systems, but the program will also support the nuts and bolts of new media, like geospacial technology, makeovers for outdated electronic transmission infrastructures, and the manufacturing of flexible electronics used in cell phones and cameras.

From the press release, here are three that look promising:

Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (Miss., La.) EIGS organizes
complimentary geospatial businesses, government agencies, and educational
institutions in Mississippi and the Louisiana Gulf Coast to help create a trained
workforce, transfer geospatial technology from public institutions into the
market, and foster new business growth. Geospatial technology is the
combination of GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information
systems), and satellite or aerial image-based remote sensing.

Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster (Ill.) The ISG-RIC is a
collaboration of more than 100 entities (including 70 businesses) in the
Chicago region, focused on the acceleration of Smart Grid innovation,
deployments, and new market development. The Smart Grid is a convergence
of technological and investment interests across multiple sectors, focused on
using advanced technology to improve inefficient and outdated electric
transmission infrastructure.

NorTech (Ohio) NorTech focuses on technology-based economic development
in 21 counties of Northeast Ohio. Funds will help small business development
within NorTech’s FlexMatters initiative, which focuses on advanced energy and
flexible electronics. Flexible electronics, which are electronic devices printed
on flexible substrates, are emerging as a newly commercializable science, and
a growing manufacturing opportunity.

“Maximizing a region’s economic assets is one of the best ways to create long term job growth, and that’s what SBA’s new Innovative Economies pilot initiative is doing,” said SBA administrator Karen Mills in a statement. “SBA’s support will help expand the opportunities and the role small businesses play in these regional collaborations, which are enhancing the ability to create jobs locally and compete on a national and global scale.”