Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 33 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, announced over $5.4 million in funding to 44 awardees through the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program. FAST provides small businesses and startups, particularly those in underserved communities, with specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research and development. Grant selectees qualify for award amounts of up to $125,000 each.
“When we enable equitable access to federal research funding, we empower more of our nation’s entrepreneurs and scientists to translate their cutting-edge ideas into commercial enterprises,” said Administrator Guzman. “This is why doubling our funding of FAST grants and expanding the network of awardees is so critical to building a stronger and more inclusive innovation economy that invests in all of our communities.”
FAST’s objective is to strengthen the competitiveness of small businesses and startups across the country, particularly those from underserved communities to help them benefit from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. Through FAST, the SBA continues to play a critical role in creating inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and helping American entrepreneurs grow their networks and revenue opportunities with new capital, a priority of Administrator Guzman.
This year’s expansion of the FAST program created 12 additional awards and expands the program’s footprint to 43 states and one U.S. territory. These organizations are led by state and local economic development entities, Small Business Technology Development Centers, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, incubators, accelerators, colleges, and universities. The expanded reach of the program builds on the success of previous FAST cohorts. With $4 million in funding in fiscal year 2021, FAST helped small businesses to win over $88 million in SBIR and STTR awards, a 22:1 return for every taxpayer dollar spent.
The FAST program provides awards for a base period of 12 months, plus four optional continuation periods of 12 months each. Thirty-two FAST awardees from the 2021 cohort were also selected for second or third-year funding.
In FY 2022, $6 million was appropriated for entities to carry out activities defined under the FAST Partnership Program legislative authority. 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. These efforts are focused on elevating and expanding the ecosystem support network that works with technology developing entrepreneurs, startups, and existing small businesses. FAST’s primary goal is to help tech entrepreneurs who have traditionally been left out of federal R&D programs by successfully applying, winning, and executing SBIR and STTR awards. Additional information can be found at www.sbir.gov/about-fast.
SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, known as America’s Seed Fund across the 11 participating federal agencies. Over $4 billion in early-stage seed capital was provided in FY 2022 through over 7,000 awards to more than 4,000 small businesses. Federal agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by America’s Seed Fund 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 www.sbir.gov.
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, 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 www.sba.gov.