WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced Small Business Energy Efficiency Grants to Small Business Development Center (SBDC) networks in seven states to fund projects that provide energy efficiency assistance to small businesses. Each grant award is in the amount of $125,000.
The SBA is committed to helping small businesses save money by making them more energy efficient and more competitive. Each SBDC was selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants based on their ability to provide energy efficiency services, and each offered imaginative and innovative approaches to respond to the rising needs of small businesses to develop greater energy efficiency. The grant awards will help small businesses conserve energy and use it more efficiently.
“Small businesses are leading the way in developing green technology,” said Administrator Karen Mills. “These Small Business Development Centers are well positioned to help equip small businesses with energy efficiency tools and information. It’s a win-win because a small business saves on energy bills while contributing to the growth of green jobs in other local businesses.”
The grants contribute to the SBA’s efforts to help small businesses facing increasing costs of fossil fuels and diminishing energy resources. SBDC grant recipients will use the funds to help small businesses with energy conservation.
Each SBDC grant recipient will use unique and innovative approaches to develop and promote green buildings and green technology. Three of the SBDCs will receive awards for the first time, with four to receive a second year of funding. The proposed programs will help to provide education, training, energy efficiency audits, information on adoption of energy efficiency practices, and assistance for purchase and installation of energy-efficient building fixtures and equipment.
Small Business Development Centers to receive grant awards for the first time are:
- The Arizona Small Business Development Center hosted by Maricopa County Community College
- The North Carolina Small Business Technical Development Center hosted by North Carolina State University
- The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center hosted by the University of Pennsylvania
The Arizona SBDC will use a six phase process to assist small businesses in the green technology field, beginning with a technology assessment and action plan, continuing through the research, development, investment, implementation, marketing and beta testing and final production phases.
The North Carolina SBDC will add technology counselors and expand student internships to increase their ability to provide statewide business and technology commercialization services to energy efficiency and clean technology companies. They will also leverage relationships with existing partners involved in the alternative energy and clean technology area.
The Pennsylvania SBDC will promote the development and commercialization of clean technology products, goods, services and processes that use renewable energy sources through expanded technical assistance, existing SBIR/STTR programs, venture capital and all available resources.
Small Business Development Centers to receive a second year of funding have demonstrated the ability to provide access to information and resources on energy efficiency practices. They are:
- The Idaho Small Business Development Center hosted by Boise State University
- The New York Small Business Development Center hosted by the Research Foundation of the State University of New York
- The Nevada Small Business Development Center hosted by the University of Nevada
- The Nebraska Small Business Development Center hosted by the University of Nebraska
Their accomplishments have been demonstrated in responding to the rising needs of small businesses for the education and implementation of energy efficiency.
The New York State SBDC and its partner organizations will coordinate with utility providers to conduct energy audits for small businesses with substantial energy consumption. They will also educate small business owners to enable them to identify energy savings and make efficient energy decisions. The SBDC, with its partners, will advise small business owners about energy opportunities relating to green buildings, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and improved environmental performance.
The Idaho SBDC will use student teams and interns to assist small businesses to develop and implement an energy audit program. The Idaho SBDC’s Environmental Assistance Coordinator has established relationships with the utility companies and economic development professionals to deliver energy efficiency training for small businesses. These training sessions are used as focus groups to determine the best methods for delivering energy efficiency information to small businesses. The SBDC will use the information to reach and educate greater numbers of small businesses.
The Nevada SBDC has expanded its experience and involvement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rebuild America building energy efficiency retrofit program, the Nevada State Office of Energy, the major Nevada Electric Utilities, the U.S. EPA and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to provide energy audits and assist small businesses in evaluating and implementing energy efficiency measures. They offer education on renewable energy generation, constructing high performance green buildings, and developing and commercializing clean technology products, goods, services and processes. The SBDC will help small businesses improve environmental performance using source reduction approaches, including toxic reduction, waste and emissions minimization.
The Nebraska SBDC will provide energy efficiency screening and assist businesses in finding financing opportunities for energy efficiency improvements. The SBDC has created a Web site that guides counselors and small business owners through the use of existing tools, information and resources on energy efficiency and waste reduction.
All renewal grant recipients will use technology tools, including webcasts and streaming video to reach and educate small business owners about energy efficiency and the services available through their SBDC networks.
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