Innovation Gateway, along with the Center for Black Entrepreneurship and the UGA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Morehouse, cohosted the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) America’s Seed Fund 2024 Road Tour stop on May 14 in Atlanta. The tour connected entrepreneurs working on advanced technology to the country’s largest source of early-stage funding.

Also known as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs, America’s Seed Fund focuses on next generation research and development through participating federal agencies. The SBIR and STTR programs are highly competitive and encourage domestic small business to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development with the potential for commercialization.

“We were pleased to partner with the Center for Black Entrepreneurship to provide this valuable opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about funding available through the federal SBIR/STTR program,” said Derek Eberhart, associate vice president for research and executive director of Innovation Gateway. “Attendees heard from experts about numerous federal, state, and local resources available to support Georgia-based small businesses, including numerous UGA programs that help Georgia entrepreneurs start new companies. Hundreds are launched each year as a part of UGA’s ongoing commitment to catalyzing economic development.”

Representatives from the participating federal agencies conducted one-on-one meetings with small businesses and startups, took part in panel discussions, presented on SBIR/STTR technology areas, and shared insights into how agencies make funding decisions.

America’s Seed Fund Road Tour plays an important role in increasing engagement with entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country, building out greater networks to support small businesses focused on high-impact research.

America’s Seed Fund is coordinated by SBA and provides over $4 billion in early-stage funding to small businesses each year in a wide variety of technology areas such as unmanned systems, advanced materials, health, cybersecurity, and defense. The program grants more than 6,000 new funding awards annually, allowing innovators to advance new technologies and create thousands of jobs.