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USDA SBIR Networking Event Featuring Brent Elrod Draws Statewide Audience

May 20th, 2015 by Rebecca Norman

USDA SBIR Networking Event featuring Brent ElrodFifteen innovative entrepreneurs from across Arkansas came to the ASBTDC Lead Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock May 19 for our first USDA SBIR Networking event.

Program attendees included university researchers from the University of Central Arkansas and UALR, as well as entrepreneurs from Jonesboro, Harford, Greenwood, Texarkana and Fayetteville. Industry areas represented by the participants included biofuels, aquaponics, telemedicine, visual aids, water purification and virtual reality programs for healthcare training.

The event featured the national program leader for the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture,  Brent Elrod. Elrod heads up the Community and Rural Development sector of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Small Business Innovation Research program.

Also speaking at the event were Brandon Foshee and Dan Ballard of Fauxsee Innovations. The Magnolia-based company recently received notification of a SBIR Phase I award through the USDA Community and Rural Development program for its assistive navigation device concept, RoboFind™.

“Meeting local business owners, entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors helps us raise awareness of the Small Business Innovation Research grant program. We, in turn, gain valuable stakeholder feedback and heightened understanding of the great ideas and efforts underway that serve to grow small businesses and the economy,” said Elrod.

Attendees indicated that the event was a useful way to gain first-hand insights from both the agency and awardee perspectives. Throughout the event, attendees took the opportunity to direct questions and comments to both Elrod and Foshee.

Additional photos from the event are on the ASBTDC Lead Center’s Facebook page.