Head of the Small Business Administration Karen Mills announced support for a pilot program that recognizes 10 regional economies or “clusters” and that will enhance the role SBA plays in these regional areas.
The communities and economies chosen reflect collaborations between small businesses, the public sector, economic development and other organizations.
More than 170 communities applied for membership in the program, and the 10 selected are a mix of urban and rural economies across a spectrum of industry.
SBA’s support of the program “will help expand the opportunities and the role small businesses play in these regional collaborations, which are enhancing the ability to create jobs locally and compete on a national and global scale,” Mills said.
Among those chosen:
- The Connecticut Hydrogen-Fuel Cell, which will develop and manufacture the fueling systems across Northeast states;
- Carolina’s Nuclear Cluster for the business that serves both North and South Carolina’s nuclear industry;
- and the Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster, which will new technology to improve outdated electric infrastructures.
The announcement comes on the heels of a Brookings Institution and Center for American progress paper on regional innovation clusters that reported the White House, Congress, and state and local lawmakers have recently embraced regional innovation clusters “as a framework for structuring the nation’s economic development activities.”
Karen Mills’ next stop is the White House on Sept. 29. She will take part in a forum and answer questions about The Small Business Jobs Act, as well as about what the healthcare reform law (passed six months ago yesterday) means for small business.