National SBIR Road Tour to Visit Arkansas April 19

March 29th, 2016 by Gwen Green

The 2016 SBIR Road Tour will visit 15 states, and Arkansas is the first stop.

The nationwide tour is coming to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on Tuesday, April 19, to promote the federal Small Business Innovation Research program. SBIR and its sister Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) provide $2.5 billion annually to small companies for state-of-the-art research and product development.

sbir-road-tour-logoThe Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center will host the event at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development at UALR.

SBIR program managers from at least nine federal agencies will speak and meet one-on-one with entrepreneurs – a rare opportunity for entrepreneurs to engage program managers face-to-face. Agencies scheduled to participate include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Missile Defense Agency, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force.

As the parent agency for SBIR, the U.S. Small Business Administration is coordinating the road tour, which was restarted last year after a long hiatus. The tour hasn’t been to Arkansas since 2002.

Rebecca Norman, innovation consultant and SBIR specialist at the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, says meeting the program managers in person gives Arkansas entrepreneurs an edge in the highly competitive award process.

“Program managers can recommend how to modify a research concept to better align with a specific SBIR/STTR topic area or recognize if another agency may offer a better fit for your technology,” said Norman. “When your research is relevant to more than one agency, the best way to find out which agency to target first is to meet with the agency reps in person at the SBIR Road Tour event.”

Participants can also learn about state funding opportunities and resource providers during the afternoon session. Norman will speak, and a panel will feature three SBIR-winning companies from Arkansas. Representatives from state agencies will discuss state-level funding available for innovative Arkansas companies, followed by a final panel on university technology transfer programs.

Pre-registration is required and available online. To register or learn more, visit or contact the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at (501) 683-7700.