THUMB research park 1 300x159CHAMPAIGN – EnterpriseWorks, a tech incubator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Research Park, has been awarded a $125,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support the growth and development of tech companies across the state, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Wednesday. 

The grant, which was disbursed under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program administered by the SBA’s Office of Innovation and Technology, will be used for specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research- and development-focused small businesses.

“I’m pleased to congratulate EnterpriseWorks on being awarded an SBA FAST grant,” Bennett said. “EnterpriseWorks is already a leading technology hub for research and startups, and this grant is one more tool they can utilize to help boost Illinois small business innovators and spur the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The FAST Partnership Program provides one year of funding to organizations like EnterpriseWorks that team up with a network of technology consultants, innovators and entrepreneurs in the state to help build the “innovation ecosystem” that is key to developing the tech economy. EnterpriseWorks plans to use the funds to expand the reach of its incubator services and help more companies across the state access federal seed capital through programs like the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

“We have diligently worked to build support systems for innovative entrepreneurs both here in the Champaign-Urbana tech community and with partners statewide,” said Laura Frerichs, Executive Director of the University of Illinois Research Park and the EnterpriseWorks incubator.  “The FAST Partnership will provide us with more bandwidth and resources to broaden participation in the SBIR program and work more intentionally with underserved communities.”

The award is the result of a competitive review process conducted by the SBA and SBIR. The application process also required support from the State of Illinois, which could choose just one organization to nominate for the award.

EnterpriseWorks was one of 24 grant recipients that include women’s business centers, procurement technical assistance centers, incubators and accelerators across the country.

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