SBA Regional innovation cluster program benefits Utah manufacturers

In 2018, SBA designated Utah as a Regional Innovation Cluster for Advanced Materials and Advanced Manufacturing and contracted with UAMMI to create and grow this important ecosystem and cluster in Utah. Under the SBA Regional Innovation Cluster program, there are two types of Cluster Member companies. Small Business Cluster Member, which are small businesses (less than 500 employees as defined by SBA), based in Utah, and working in advanced materials and/or advanced manufacturing. Associated Industry Cluster Members include any organization (large corporation, academic, government, service provider, etc.), based anywhere, interested in supporting the UAMMI Small Business Cluster Members.

In 2019, working with software developer i5, Grow Utah Ventures and consulting firm LSI, UAMMI identified companies in the cluster and launched CONNEX, a powerful online manufacturer database and connectivity platform designed to help manufacturers connect with each other, find local and domestic suppliers, explore production capabilities, and manage their supply chain such as identify single supplier risks and find opportunities for diversification. CONNEX is now part of the services offered by the Utah-MEP Alliance.

In 2020, despite COVID, UAMMI grew the Cluster through virtual meetings, plus Go Utah (Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity) designated Advanced Manufacturing as a targeted industry for Utah. In 2021 in-person company mentoring resumed and UAMMI teamed with Utah-MEP Alliance to include SBA Regional Innovation Small Business Cluster Member companies into the programs offered by iMpactUtah, Utah Manufacturers Association, and World Trade Association.

Under the SBA RIC Program for Utah Manufacturers, UAMMI provides services at no costs to Small Business Cluster Member companies, including:

• Access to CONNEX, the online connection tool for manufacturers

• Networking opportunities to meet government contracting offices, prime contractors, and other cluster members to team on projects

• Technical consulting provided by experts in advanced materials and advanced manufacturing

• Invitations and scholarships to Grow Utah Venture’s entrepreneur mentoring program known as RAMP

• Access to Utah-MEP alliance partner programs, including iMpactUtah business improvement, Utah Manufactures Association safety program and World Trade Center Export assistance

• UAMMI networking events, such as CrossTalk

• Networking and collaboration among Small Business and Associated Industry Members

• Help with capital assistance, including grants, loans and contracts

• Workforce program information and assistance

• SBIR/STTR Proposal Support (with PTAC and Go Utah Innovation Center)

• Product testing assistance

• Reduced costs to participate in national industry conferences, such as the Composites & Advanced Manufacturing Expo (CAMX), JEC, Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE)

• UAMMI Association Group Employee Benefit Program

Associated Industry Cluster Members services include:

• Recognition as supporting Utah’s advanced manufacturing industry

• Networking and collaboration among Small Business and Associated Industry Members

• UAMMI networking events, such as CrossTalk

• UAMMI Association Group Employee Benefit Program

SBA RIC Results

Since 2019, the SBA RIC program has grown to include 119Small Business Cluster Members, including 52 new business startups, and 142 Associated Industry Cluster Members. Over the past four years, Small Business Cluster Members have realized more than $30 million in new funding through grants and other programs. More than 150 companies have received technical consulting, 33 have completed RAMP mentoring program, and 645 Small Business Cluster Member companieshave attended UAMMI networking events. Small Business Cluster Members have created almost 600 new jobs, introduced 241 new products or services and received almost 70 new patents. Additionally, the SBA RIC program has fostered collaboration among cluster members to leverage economic opportunities. For more information, please go to our website and contact Cathy Blomquist, UAMMI Member Services [email protected]

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