Defense Alliance Awarded Small Business Administration Regional Contract

Posted 5/08/07 (Tue)

The Defense Alliance announced today that it received a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) contract to create an “Advanced Defense Technologies (ADT) Cluster.” The $600,000 firm, fixed-price contract for fiscal year 2011 is part of SBA’s “Innovative Economies Pilot Initiative,” officially launched today. The program centers around regional clustering of high technology stakeholders, in this case for “advanced power and energy,” including, but not limited to: power generation, storage, distribution, conservation and supporting technology. The Innovative Economies Initiative recognizes that local small businesses are the principal catalyst for the creation of well-paying jobs and innovative technology in communities across the country – particularly when the effort includes leveraging all of a region’s high technology assets, including academia, industry, non-profit organizations and government entities.

The SBA contract will be managed and implemented by the Defense Alliance the region’s defense industry network that was created by Minnesota Wire in 2004, where it is still hosted. The Defense Alliance has a vibrant membership of nearly 500 businesses and organizations in eleven states. The Alliance’s proposal was competitively awarded from among 173 national entries, 10 of which received awards to create regional innovation clusters; and three of which will involve defense technologies. The Defense Alliance is one of the three defense clusters, including the San Diego State University Research Foundation and the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation in Huntsville, Alabama.

According to Karen Mills, the Administrator of SBA, “Maximizing a region’s economic assets is one of the best ways to create long term job growth, and that’s what SBA’s new Innovative Economies pilot initiative is doing. Today we are announcing funding support for 10 regional economic clusters. SBA’s support 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. I’m thrilled to announced Minnesota Wire’s participation. They’re creating jobs in the community and making the upper Midwest an industry leader.”

The Defense Alliance will initially center its focus in Wisconsin and the Dakotas, where the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network and the Dakota Defense Alliance will contribute as partners. The contract has a second-year option that would make the contract award up to $1.2 million, through fiscal year 2012. Additional information about the advanced defense technologies effort in the Midwest will be available in the coming weeks on the Defense Alliance website.