FAST Center at Illinois Receives Funding Renewal from U.S. Small Business Administration

Categories : EnterpriseWorks, Recognition & Awards
Posted on: September 30, 2022

SBA Awards Over $5.4 Million in Grants to Strengthen Research Funding Opportunities Across the U.S., Including EnterpriseWorks at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

WASHINGTON – Today, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 33 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, announced over $5.4 million in funding to 44 awardees through the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.

EnterpriseWorks, the incubator at Research Park, was awarded FAST funding for a third consecutive year.  The FAST Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign provides one-on-one assistance, offers training, and conducts workshops across the state to increase access to federal research funding for Illinois small businesses.

FAST provides small businesses and startups, particularly those in underserved communities, with specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research and development. Grant selectees qualify for award amounts of up to $125,000 each.

“When we enable equitable access to federal research funding, we empower more of our nation’s entrepreneurs and scientists to translate their cutting-edge ideas into commercial enterprises,” said Administrator Guzman. “This is why doubling our funding of FAST grants and expanding the network of awardees is so critical to building a stronger and more inclusive innovation economy that invests in all of our communities.”

FAST Center Sprint fall 2022
FAST Center Sprint Workshop, Fall 2022

FAST’s objective is to strengthen the competitiveness of small businesses and startups across the country, particularly those from underserved communities to help them benefit from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. Through FAST, the SBA continues to play a critical role in creating inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and helping American entrepreneurs grow their networks and revenue opportunities with new capital, a priority of Administrator Guzman.

This year’s expansion of the FAST program created 12 additional awards and expands the program’s footprint to 43 states and one U.S. territory. These organizations are led by state and local economic development entities, Small Business Technology Development Centers, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, incubators, accelerators, colleges, and universities. The expanded reach of the program builds on the success of previous FAST cohorts. With $4 million in funding in fiscal year 2021, FAST helped small businesses to win over $88 million in SBIR and STTR awards, a 22:1 return for every taxpayer dollar spent.

The FAST program provides awards for a base period of 12 months, plus four optional continuation periods of 12 months each. Thirty-two FAST awardees from the 2021 cohort were also selected for second or third-year funding. The FAST grantees are as follows:

2023 Cohort – First Year
Alaska University of Alaska
Florida Florida High Tech Corridor
Idaho Idaho State University
Indiana Indiana Economic Development Corporation
Iowa Iowa State University of Science
Maine Maine Institute of Technology
Minnesota MNSBIR, Inc.
Michigan BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting
New Jersey New Jersey SBDC
North Dakota University of North Dakota
Utah Utah Innovation Center
Washington Life Science Washington Institute


2023 Cohort –  Second Year
Arizona Arizona Commerce Authority
Georgia Innovation Gateway at the University of Georgia
Kentucky Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation
Louisiana Louisiana Business & Technology Center/LSU
Missouri Missouri Small Business Development Center
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Small Business and Technology Development Centers
South Dakota South Dakota Biotech Council
Tennessee Launch TN
Wisconsin Center for Technology Commercialization


2023 Cohort  Third Year

Arkansas University of Arkansas at Little Rock- Arkansas SBTDC
Colorado Colorado Small Business Development Center
Connecticut Connecticut Innovations, Inc.
Delaware Delaware Small Business Development Center
Hawaii Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC)
Illinois EnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois
Kansas Wichita State University
Maryland Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO)
      Mississippi Innovate Mississippi
Montana Montana State University TechLink Center
Nebraska Nebraska Business Development Center, University of Nebraska at Omaha
New Hampshire UNHInnovation
New Mexico Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University
North Carolina First Flight Venture Center, Inc.
Ohio Ohio Aerospace Institute
Oklahoma OK Catalyst
Oregon VertueLab
Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners Corporation
South Carolina University of South Carolina
Texas SWTXB SBDC Technology Commercialization Center
Virginia Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation
West Virginia TechConnect West Virginia
Wyoming University of Wyoming Small Business Development Center



About FAST

In FY 2022, $6 million was appropriated for entities to carry out activities defined under the FAST Partnership Program legislative authority. Entities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to receive funding to provide outreach, technical, and financial assistance. These efforts are focused on elevating and expanding the ecosystem support network that works with technology developing entrepreneurs, startups, and existing small businesses. FAST’s primary goal is to help tech entrepreneurs who have traditionally been left out of federal R&D programs by successfully applying, winning, and executing SBIR and STTR awards. Additional information can be found at