Regional innovation clusters promote business collaboration in rural communities

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Small businesses in the Rocky Mountain region have new resources to help them commercialize technology, expand into new markets, grow their customer base and create jobs.

Thanks to funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative in Billings and the Utah Advanced Material Manufacturing Initiative in Kaysville will expand opportunities for businesses in their industries to connect with each other and effectively leverage their assets.

Each organization received contract awards from the SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters initiative. The clusters are geographically concentrated groups of interconnected businesses, suppliers, service providers, and related institutions that drive innovation and job creation and help grow the economy.

There are now 14 different clusters nationwide. While the industry focus of each cluster varies, the core activities are similar: to act as networking hubs to convene resources to help small businesses navigate funding, procurement and supply-chain opportunities and allow them to compete on a larger scale. Through technical and legal assistance, these cluster networks also work to help innovators commercialize promising technologies needed by government and industry buyers.

The goal of the initiative is to spur regional innovation that ultimately will have a global economic impact. The new clusters will focus on increasing economic activity and development in rural communities outside of large metropolitan areas.

This SBA initiative will play a key role in helping entrepreneurs start and grow businesses throughout Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming, fostering innovation, commercialization, and sustainability. For more information on the SBA’s programs and services, please visit www.sba.gov and follow us on Twitter @SBARockymtn.

— Dan Nordberg, SBA Region VIII Administrator

Dan Nordberg serves as the SBA’s Region VIII Administrator and is based in Denver. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in Colorado, Montana, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming

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