SBA says funding is available to support regional clusters

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The U.S. Small Business Administration says it will be making more than $7 million available to regional development clusters to help create job growth and new small business formation.

“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.

After evaluating the various proposals, the agency will award grants of up to $600,000 to as many as 15 projects nationwide. The SBA’s cluster program will contain two distinct programs: regional innovation clusters and a partnership with the Department of Defense to develop advanced defense technology clusters.

Regional innovation clusters aim to provide business training, counseling and mentoring to help grow existing small businesses and help entrepreneurs looking to create a corporation. Advanced defense technology clusters are areas that will provide similar services to small businesses working in high-growth industries such as robotics, cybersecurity and energy innovations.

Mass High Tech reports that the SBA’s cluster initiative is based on economic strategies developed by researchers at Harvard Business School, who have said that supporting groups of interconnecting companies in a specific geographic region is more effective than supporting individual businesses.