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New Cluster Grants Build On Successful Public-Private Partnerships

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New Cluster Grants Build On Successful Public-Private Partnerships

By Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
Published: October 12, 2012 Updated: June 24, 2016

Two years ago, SBA pioneered the federal government’s first regional cluster strategy and I’m proud to say we’ve already seen the tangible benefits of these investments:

  • Our research shows small business participation in our 10 pilot clusters increased by more than 275 percent in just one year;
  • Employment grew on average by more than 11 percent in the small businesses that participated in the 10 pilot clusters; and
  • More than two-thirds (69 percent) of small businesses that sought cluster support reported that they developed new products and services.

One of our top priorities at the SBA is to build on the success that we’ve already achieved and create these place based ecosystems across the country.  We are continuing to invest in Regional Innovation Clusters, which will help innovative small business grow faster and create jobs.  And, most recently, we joined with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, and the National Science Foundation to support the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.  As a result of this challenge, we formed ten new public-private partnerships with clusters across America to strengthen advanced manufacturing at the local level. 
These ten new partnerships will be particularly important in building on the growth we have experienced in manufacturing.  Since February of 2010, the economy has added more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs.  And, we know for every new job created in the manufacturing sector, another two jobs are created in the surrounding community.  By supporting these advanced manufacturing clusters, we will spur additional job creation, strengthen the manufacturing supply chain by connecting innovative small suppliers with large companies, link research with the start-ups that can commercialize new ideas, and train workers with skills that firms need to capitalize on business opportunities. 
All across the Administration, we are continuing to use every lever we have available to help fuel job creation and lay the foundation for a more inclusive, resilient and competitive 21st century American economy.  By supporting our small innovative manufacturing companies and investing in place based ecosystems we are fostering the growth of the American supply chain and creating an economy built to last.

About the Author:

Karen Mills

Former SBA Administrator

Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.


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