Supporting Business Innovation


Startup America

This initiative connects entrepreneurs with successful businesses, opens up $2 billion in seed capital for emerging companies in fields of strategic importance, such as clean energy, and aims to simplify tax policy. Clean energy startups may be interested in applying for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) new funds or participating in the SBA and Department of Energy (DOE) mentor corps.

SBA Startup America:

Private Startup America Partnership:

Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

ARPA-E supports promising early-stage research projects aimed to deliver game-changing clean energy technologies. To date, roughly 37 percent of ARPA-E funds – $132 million – have been allocated to small businesses. ARPA-E remains engaged to help small businesses succeed after the award is made by offering resources designed to help companies overcome both technical and commercial challenges. In partnership with SBA, DOE is using a portion of ARPA-E funds to support four private business accelerators to mentor and support 100 clean energy technology startups across the country. The President’s 2012 Budget includes an additional $650 million for the ARPA-E program.

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Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency, with the authority to administer the patent program and the technology licensing program for all intramural research conducted by USDA. ARS continually looks for opportunities to partner with businesses in order toexpedite research results to the private sector, exchange information and knowledge, stimulate new business and economic development, enhance U.S. trade, preserve the environment, and improve the quality of life for all Americans. The website offers a list of ARS technologies available for licensing, staff members’ contact information that can help facilitate commercialization, and licensing information.

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Fast-Track Examination

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)

The USPTO is pursuing an Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative to give innovators more control over the application processing and support a more efficient market for innovation. Now applicants areable to request prioritized examination (Track I), obtain processing under the current procedure (Track 11), or request a delay lasting up to 30months (Track III). Entrepreneurs who are seeking capitalor accelerated market penetrationmay benefit from theprioritized examination offered by the Track I option. In contrast, those entrepreneurs working to commercializemore embryonic ideas may prefer the extended timeframe associated with Track III. Another benefit to entrepreneurs will be shorter overall examination queues.

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Emerging Leaders

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Emerging Leaders initiative identifies small businesses that show a high potential for growth and provides them with the network and resources required to build a sustainable business and promote economic development. This initiative will enable the participating small businesses to engage in an intensive curriculum focused on developing a winning, expansion strategy for their business, including options for capital access and contracting. Participants also will have the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial community.

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The Economic Development Administration (EDA)

The EDA plays a leading role in the Federal economic development agenda by promoting competitive ecosystems for entrepreneurship and innovation, and preparing American regions for growth and success in the global economy. Examples of EDA programs include: revolving loan funds, investment funds for innovation infrastructure, university-entrepreneur partnerships, and support for firms negatively impacted by trade issues.

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Resources You Can Use

Expanded Loan Sizes

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Small Business Jobs Act increased the maximum 7(a) loan size from $2 million to $5 million and increased the maximum 504 loan size from $2 million to $5 million for regular projects and from $4 million to $5.5 million for manufacturing projects, and increased the maximum microloan size to $50,000. 7(a) loans may be used to establish a new business or to assist in the acquisition, operation, or expansion of an existing business. Proceeds from 504 loans must be used for fixed asset projects and cannot be used for working capital or inventory, consolidating or repaying debt, or refinancing.

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Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs

The SBIR program provides early funding technology companies to take research from the lab to the marketplace. SBIR represents the single largest early stage investment tool in the government, providing approximately $2.5 billion annually to small businesses. Phase I awards $150,000 for approximately six months to explore the technical merit or viability of an idea or technology. Phase II awards up to $1,000,000 for as many as two years in order to commercialize Phase I results. Each agency has its own SBIR program but the general program is coordinated by the SBA.

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Protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

The DOC has undertaken numerous activities to assist SMEs in protecting IPR, both in the United States and abroad. The DOC launched a website to enable allows businesses to file complaints about IPR-related trade problems, which are answered within ten days by a trade specialist from the Office of Intellectual Property Rights. The DOC also established the 1-866-999-HALT hotline answered by USPTO IPR experts, who work with the Office of Intellectual Property Rights to help businesses secure and enforce their IPR through international treaties.

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Report IP Theft: and1-866-999-HALT

Other Ways the Administration Spurs Innovation

Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF)

U.S. Department of Treasury

To stimulate small business lending, the SBLF, administered by the Department of Treasury, is authorized to provide up to $30 billion in capital to qualified community banks and other targeted lenders with assets of less than $10 billion. In order to incentivize lending to small businesses, the SBLF is structured so that the price a bank pays for SBLF funding will be reduced as the bank’s small business lending increases. To access these benefits, small businesses should apply to banks participating in the SBLF. Treasury recently began accepting applications and all SBLF investments will be completed by September 27, 2011. To date, Treasury has received applications from over 250 institutions totaling more than $4 billion in funds requested. Treasury expects to complete initial fundings under the program in the first quarter, and will continue thereafter to fund institutions on a rolling basis.

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State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI)

U.S. Department of Treasury

The SSBCI was established by the Small Business Jobs Act to help spur up to $15 billion in lending by strengthening innovative state programs that support private sector lending to small businesses, including collateral support programs, Capital Access Programs (CAPs) and loan guarantee programs. In order to access SSBCI funds, small businesses should apply to their state’s lending program.

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