TL,DR: This guide will give you all the tools you need to be navigate the TA ecosystem.


  • Organization Types and Descriptions




Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program Awardee

Awardees of the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program provide financial support, technical assistance, and mentoring to SBIR/STTR applicants and awardees. Technical assistance encourages applicants/awardees to transition from Phase I to II and commercialize technology developed through SBIR/STTR program funding. Mentoring networks provide business advice and counseling. Financial support is in the form of grants or loans to applicants to pay a portion or all of the cost of developing SBIR/STTR proposals, attending relevant conferences, and bridging possible gaps between phases. Organizations with FAST funding conduct outreach or run programs to increase the participation of women, socially/economically disadvantaged individuals, and small businesses in underrepresented areas, typically rural states.

SBA Growth Accelerator (GA)

SBA Growth Accelerator awardees are accelerators, incubators, and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models (e.g., co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces) that support the development of small businesses and startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of capital (e.g., venture capital, other investors).

APEX Accelerators

APEX Accelerator’s provide technical assistance to businesses that want to sell products and services to federal, state, and/or local governments. Mostly free of charge, an APEX Accelerators representative can help a business: 1) determine if it is ready for government contracting, 2) determine where and how to register in government marketplace databases (e.g., SAM, GSA Schedules), 3) obtain applicable small business certifications, 4) research past contract opportunities, and 5) identify and bid on contracts. For awarded contracts, an APEX Accelerators can help measure performance and assist with contract audits.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

SBDCs provide aspiring and current small business owners a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services including: business plan development, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help, 8(a) program support, and healthcare guidance. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and funded in part through a partnership with SBA.

SBA Regional Innovation Cluster (RIC)

Cluster initiatives focus on growing small businesses in the most promising industry sectors across the country. From wood-products manufacturing in rural Ohio to advanced autonomous systems work in Southeastern New Mexico, each cluster purposely integrates small, medium and large companies and universities for business, funding and research opportunities that create jobs, attract capital and have long-term, positive economic impact. As public-private partnerships, SBA clusters offer services to connect small businesses into the larger regional supply chain. Depending on the industries of focus, each cluster provides a unique set of services for small businesses, but at the core, each offer specialized small business counseling and mentoring. A centerpiece of many of the SBA clusters in high tech sectors is targeted workshops on SBIR funding, connections into R&D labs, and assistance in acquiring patents.

State Contact (STATE)

State Contacts are other organizations often affiliated with state/local government programs that support the innovation entrepreneur ecosystem.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)

MEP Centers work with manufacturers to develop new products and customers, expand and diversify markets, adopt new technology, and enhance value within supply chains. Centers are located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and comprise the MEP National Network. As a public-private partnership, the MEP Program serves as a bridge to other organizations and federal research labs that share a passion for enhancing the manufacturing community. The MEP program is based at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

NIH Proof-of-Concept Center (POCC)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) national network of proof-of-concept centers enables academic innovators to validate the potential health impacts of promising scientific discoveries and advance them into healthcare products and services that improve patient care and enhance health. This consortium, which includes the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovation (NCAI), the Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs (REACH), and the STTR Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hubs for IDeA States, merges the strengths of high-impact research institutions with product development expertise and resources from federal and private-sector partners and includes 92 research institutions across 34 states and Puerto Rico.


Under the Build to Scale Program, organizations funded by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) support the next generation of industry leading companies through technology commercialization, formation of investment funds that invest in scalable startups, increasing connectivity and competitiveness of startups in particular industries.

MBDA Business Center (MBC)

MBDA’s nationwide network of business centers helps minority business enterprises (MBEs) gain access to capital, contracts, and markets. Capital—Identifying financing opportunities and sourcing deals; financial management and planning; mergers and acquisitions and more. Contracts—identification of procurement opportunities; teaming arrangements; solicitation analysis; bid and proposal preparation, and more. Markets—market research, promotion, and advertising; sales consulting and forecasting, business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking forums, identification of export markets, and more.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency ( is the only federal agency solely dedicated to fostering the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority business enterprises.

 We encourage you to explore this ecosystem. You can also search a comprehensive database of grants including SBIR opportunities on OpenGrants. Create an account for free here. Enjoy seven days of free access, no credit card required.