Northeast Indiana Innovation Center secures SBA FAST grant

Laura Schafsnitz, Indiana District Office Public Affairs, US Small Business Administration

Funding will be used to support entrepreneurs in high-tech fields

FORT WAYNE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded a $125,000 Federal and State Technology (FAST) grant to the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) in Fort Wayne.   The NIIC will use the award to help support entrepreneurs building their businesses in tech innovation and R &D industries.

The goal of SBA’s (FAST) Partnership Program is to improve outcomes for underrepresented entrepreneurs in SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs.  SBA Indiana District Director Stacey Poynter said that having The NIIC as a FAST partner will go a long way supporting Indiana’s next-generation high-tech firms.

“FAST partners are an important part of the innovation entrepreneur ecosystem,” Poynter said.  “They fill the gaps, provide training and mentorship, and help entrepreneurs navigate the sometimes complex system of federally-funded innovation and R&D programs.”

Another advantage The NIIC has is their location.

“The NIIC is located in an Opportunity Zone,” said President & CEO Karl R. LaPan.  “That’s important for entrepreneurs because Opportunity Zones are ‘powerful centers of innovation.’ In addition to academia-industry-investor collaboration, they provide the resources and technical assistance to help inclusive and diverse innovators to write winning SBIR/SSTR proposals. “

The program will be overseen by The NIIC’s senior entrepreneur-in-residence Mike Fritsch, who has vast expertise in federal and state grant and contracting opportunities.

About FAST

In FY 2019, $3,000,000 was appropriated as grants for entities to carry out targeted activities from September 30, 2019 through September 29, 2020.  Entities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa are eligible to receive funding to provide outreach, technical, and financial assistance in support of the SBIR/STTR programs. Additional information can be found at www.sbir.gov/about-fast.


SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provides more than $3.7 billion in early stage seed capital totaling over 5,000 awards to small businesses. Eleven participating federal government agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S.  Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at www.sbir.gov.

For more information about programs and resources for Indiana entrepreneurs and small business organizations, check out the SBA Indiana District Office website at www.sba.gov/in or follow us on Twitter @SBA_Indiana.


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov


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