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SBA's Regional Innovation Clusters
In the fall of 2010, through an open competition, SBA funded 10 pilot clusters through its Regional Innovation Clusters program. Today, the program includes 14 clusters located across the United States, with new clusters introduced in both 2014 and 2015. Below, please see a map of all 14 of SBA’s currently active Regional Innovation Clusters.
The Regional Innovation Clusters serve a diverse group of sectors and geographies. Three of the initial pilot clusters, termed Advanced Defense Technology clusters, are specifically focused on meeting the needs of the defense industry. The Wood Products Cluster, debuted in 2015, supports the White House’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative for coal communities. All of the clusters support small businesses by fostering a synergistic network of small and large businesses, university researchers, regional economic organizations, stakeholders, and investors, while providing matchmaking, business training, counseling, mentoring, and other services to help small businesses expand and grow.
Throughout the initiative, SBA has asked a third- party evaluator to examine SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters in detail, including their various stakeholder participants and the services and activities provided by the clusters, with a focus on small business participants. Some highlights from the Year 3 report, released in July 2014, include the following:
- 80% of participants agree that cluster activities led to increases in collaborative activity within their region;
- Cluster administrators provided more than 13,000 hours of one-on-one assistance to more than 460 small businesses, with recipient small businesses receiving an average of nearly 29 hours each.
- The value of economic activity in the third year of the program totaled more than $3.9 Billion
- Employment in cluster-associated small businesses grew an average of 6.9%, more than 4 times faster than the regional benchmark.
- Revenues in cluster-associated small businesses increased an average of 6.9%, nearly twice as fast as comparable firms
Read full reports for each year of the iniative: