Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

SBA Shows High-Tech Startups Some Love


The U.S. Small Business Administration, widely considered near useless to high-tech startups, has made two efforts in as many weeks to woo this innovative group of entrepreneurs.
Karen Mills

This week, the SBA announced that it granted 20 awards of $95,000 each, for a total of almost $2 million, to technology-driven small-business support programs, according to a statement from the agency. The grants were given out as part of the SBA's Federal State Technology (FAST) program, which is intended to stimulate economic development by spurring regional research and development programs that ultimately lead to new, competitive startups.

Related: Top 3 Candidates to Lead the U.S. Small Business Administration

The $95,000 grants are for the 12 months following Oct. 1. "The FAST program is an important catalyst for helping America's cutting-edge entrepreneurs continue to drive innovation and create good jobs," said Karen Mills, the outgoing SBA administrator, in a statement. Recipient universities and programs, nominated by their home state's respective governors, are listed below:

  1. Arizona: Arizona Commerce Authority
  2. Arkansas: Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas
  3. Connecticut: Connecticut Innovations, Inc.
  4. Delaware: University of Delaware
  5. Louisiana: Louisiana State University and A&M College
  6. Michigan: BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting LLC
  7. Mississippi: Innovate Mississippi
  8. Missouri: The Curators of the University of Missouri
  9. Montana: Montana Department of Commerce
  10. New Mexico: Technology Ventures Corporation
  11. New York: The Research Foundation for the State University of New York
  12. North Dakota: University of North Dakota
  13. Ohio: Ohio Aerospace Institute
  14. Oregon: Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center
  15. Pennsylvania: Ben Franklin Technology Partners Corporation
  16. Puerto Rico: Inter American University of Puerto Rico SBTDC
  17. South Dakota: Governor's Office of Economic Development
  18. Tennessee: Tennessee Technology Development Corp. (doing business as Launch Tennessee)
  19. Vermont: Vermont State Colleges
  20. Wisconsin: Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin System

What's more, just last week the SBA hosted 16 business accelerators in Washington, D.C., to pitch their programs to high-net-worth organizations to raise money. Accelerators typically help startup entrepreneurs pitch investors, but in this situation, the accelerators themselves were pitching.

Related: SBA Chief Karen Mills Leaving With No Replacement Named

The event, held at Washington, D.C.-based accelerator 1776, aimed to foster high-tech, fast-growth entrepreneurship, the SBA says. "Accelerator Demo Day is one of the many initiatives this administration has been working on to help support the startup community," says Patrick Reilly, the executive director of the Global Accelerator Network, in a statement. Potential funders at the pitch included the Rockefeller Foundation, IBM and the Blackstone Foundation. Pitching accelerators included the following:

  1. Arkansas: ARK Accelerator
  2. New York: Socratic Labs
  3. Oregon: NW Social Venture
  4. Rhode Island: Betaspring
  5. Louisiana: The Idea Village
  6. Georgia: Village Capital
  7. Georgia: Points of Light Civic Accelerator
  8. Florida: Venture Hive
  9. Texas: Capital Factory
  10. Pennsylvania: AlphaLab
  11. Massachusetts: Mass Challenge
  12. Oklahoma: VentureSpur
  13. Ohio: Brandery
  14. New York: New York Digital Health Accelerator
  15. Washington, D.C.: Springboard Enterprises
  16. Texas: Texas Wildcatters

Readers: What could the SBA do to help your high-tech, high-growth startup? Leave a note below and let us know.

Catherine Clifford

Written By

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.