Small Business Funding Competition Announced

USDA-NSF Announce Competition to Help Small Businesses Achieve Economic Success

Released by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced the availability of $200,000 in prize funding to provide entrepreneurship training to small businesses through the Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I-FAST) pilot program.

“This pilot program will provide entrepreneurs the educational tools to turn their innovations into economically viable products, services and technology,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “This additional investment helps accelerate NIFA-funded research from the laboratory into the industry.”

NIFA is partnering with the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) to provide an entrepreneurial immersion course and training to prize winners. I-Corps prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of basic-research projects.

This prize competition is intended to spur the translation of fundamental research to the market place, encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and train faculty, students and other researchers to better understand innovation and entrepreneurship principles.

Four teams will be selected and receive $50,000 each. For six months, teams will participate in educational programs with NSF I-Corps awardees, learning how to achieve an economic impact with their projects.

Pre-applications are due on July 22, 2016, with full applications due September 2, 2016. Winners will be notified on September 23, 2016, and names will be posted to NIFA’s website.

This pilot program is being implemented under the America Competes Act, which uses as the hub for all notifications of prize competitions across the federal government.  See for more information.
NIFA and its programs provide funding to small businesses to support high quality, advanced concept research related to important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture that could lead to significant public benefits.

Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA’s integrated research, education, and extension programs, supporting the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel, have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability, and ensuring food safety.

To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit or follow them on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.

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Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.