America’s global competitiveness is in the hands of entrepreneurs and small business owners. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Cluster program recently announced the inclusion of Strategy1, located in Tucson, to the Cluster program. This optics cluster will support Arizona’s hub of optics industry innovation.
Optics technology is present in astronomy, aerospace and aviation as well as in many everyday products and services in construction, information technology, engineering, biotechnology, transportation and more.
The SBA’sRegional Innovation Cluster program, works to facilitate the growth of existing and prospective new business startups in a particular industry and geographic area. The contract awarded to Tucson’s optics cluster will help fund proactive workforce development, direct mentoring and innovative professional programs while fostering commercialization and sustainability that allows small businesses to compete on a much larger scale.
According to a study by WalletHub, Arizona ranks 10th in the nation for having an innovation environment. The state has a large share of technology companies, jobs, entrepreneurial activity and investment in research and development.
Through technical and legal assistance, the SBA’s Regional Innovation Cluster program will support Arizona’s optics industry develop markets for promising technologies needed by government and industry buyers.
By funding and promoting innovation, entrepreneurs can focus on developing cutting-edge products and services providing a meaningful contribution to America’s global competitiveness. This is especially important in rural and underserved communities, a priority for the Administration and the SBA.
The SBA has additional resources to help entrepreneurs start or grow their business – no matter where they are located or what industry they are in. SBA district offices and resource partners such as Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Development Centers, SCORE chapters or Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers can be found at sba.gov.
Michael Vallante is the regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region IX. He oversees the agency’s programs and services in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam.