Indiana University, the University of Louisville, and Missouri University of Science and Technology were awarded a $225,000 grant for a pilot program called AWARE: ACCESS: Building Innovation Capacity through Diversity. The program will help women and other minority faculty, staff and student innovators improve their successes in securing money to commercialize their inventions.
“We are thrilled to help Midwestern female and minority entrepreneurs become better equipped to compete for federal funding through this regional grant from the NSF,” said Padma Portonovo, program manager at the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, woman-and minority-owned small businesses receive less than 16 percent of federal grants (SBIR/STTR) to move their research and technology to the marketplace.
The pilot program has four major goals for women and minority academic innovators:
- Identify, engage and mentor them to pursue entrepreneurship as a career
- Expand educational, experiential and networking opportunities
- Enhance their competitiveness for federal grant applications
- Create a regional ecosystem for entrepreneurs and sharing of best practices by UofL, IU and Missouri S&T
NSF Program Director Jesus Soriano said, “The National Science Foundation recognizes the tremendous potential of women and underrepresented groups in innovation. We hope the AWARE: ACCESS program will enable more underserved groups to achieve their technological and commercial potential and enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering discovery.”
AWARE: ACCESS is an acronym for Advancing Women And Underrepresented Entrepreneurs: Accelerating Entrepreneurial Success.