Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Eric Spellmann is Bringing Social Media Understanding to SC!

If you've never heard Eric Spellmann speak, you're in for an eye-opening experience!  He's not only the kind of social media, but he's figured out how to explain what to do, when to do it, and how to do it for us mere mortals!  You can hear him speak at the SBDC's "Business Success Extravaganza" on March 24th!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Taking America’s Largest Seed Fund on the Road

By Javier.Saade, SBA Official
Originally Published as News on: February 12, 2015
Javier Saade, SBA Assoc. Admin.
Office of Investment and Innovation

At the SBA, we oversee America’s Largest Seed Fund, formally known as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
These highly competitive programs provide the needed impetus for many advanced technology firms to move from ideation to commercialization, supporting our country’s innovation driven economy.  Since the programs’ inception, there have been over 150,000 awards totaling about $40 billion to help this country’s innovators and de-risk technology investments needed to keep our country competitive.   Annually, thousands of American innovators gain access to $2.5 billion in non-dilutive seed capital through the SBIR/STTR programs. While these programs are national in scope, not all communities have fully utilized this opportunity.

We recognize that American innovation is not restricted by geographic boundaries, and to ensure that all of America’s future innovators are aware of this advantageous funding opportunity, SBA and 11 federal agencies are taking the show on the road and embarking on an 18 state SBIR Road Tour.
The SBIR Road Tour “Seeding America’s Future Innovations”, is a nationally focused outreach initiative targeting advanced technology communities, including women-owned and minority-owned firms, in states that have underutilized this funding opportunity. Over the course of 2015, I am glad to announce that more than 20 individual program managers from the 11 participating agencies will travel by motor coach to convey the non-dilutive technology seed fund opportunity.  Each SBIR Road Tour stop is hosted by a local organization committed to supporting technology-based entrepreneurship, and will provide attendees with a coveted local opportunity to hear directly from federal agency program managers, and meet one-on-one with program decision makers.
The first series will take place the week of March 23rd, with stops in Louisville, KY, Nashville, TN, Atlanta, GA, and Columbia, SC.  The next stop is the week of April 27th in Long Beach, MS, Ruston, LA, Oklahoma City, OK, Wichita, KS, and Columbia, MO.  Trips to the North Central region is planned for July and the last to the Northwest in August.

It’s like a rock band tour with a twist - the rock stars are America’s innovators and we want to give you a stage to explore these amazing programs.

 If you’re a small technology firm, innovator, scientist or researcher, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. Since the SBIR/STTR programs inception, it has provided seed funding to companies including Qualcomm, iRobot, Symantec, and Genzyme. Through this outreach initiative, I am confident we will continue to expand on the program’s success, and am excited to see what innovation we seed next.

For more information on the SBIR Road Tour and the SBIR program visit

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Student Entrepreneur Competition


The Technology Incubator @ Knowledge Park is hosting its first Entrepreneur Competition beginning on Friday, February 27th at 6 pm and finishing on Friday, March 6thThis initial competition is specially designed for college students attending Winthrop University, York Technical College, or Clinton College.  In addition, a parallel pilot competition for middle school students in Rock Hill School District Three will also be conducted.  Both the kickoff and final pitch sessions will be held at Whitton Auditorium in Carroll Hall on the Winthrop University campus.

The purpose of this event is to raise awareness for students and the community at large of the importance of entrepreneurship in building the 21st Century economy in Knowledge Park and beyond.  Through the process of holding this event, it is intended that potential local entrepreneurial talent will be identified and cultivated.

Student teams will be challenged to build a business model (using Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas) for an innovative idea that could be launched in Knowledge Park. Teams will have one week to research and compile the elements of a business model around their key value proposition.  A panel of judges will hear the pitches from each team entered and determine the winners. 

Cash prizes will be awarded as follows: 1st Place Grand Prize of $1,500, and an 8-week Summer Scholarship to the Technology Incubator; 2nd Place $ 1,000; 3rd Place $500, and  a $500 Special Prize for the most innovative/compelling business concept (that didn’t place).  There is no entry fee for the student teams to compete.  For registration and more details, visit the Technology Incubator Center’s web site: