SIOUX FALLS, S.D. • The Small Business Administration said it has issued grant awards up to $125,000 each to four organizations in the Rocky Mountain Region for specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research and development-focused small businesses.

The grants fall under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program, and among the number in the region is the South Dakota Biotech Council, according to the Small Business Administration, which made the announcement on Wednesday, Aug. 11.

“We are thrilled to announce that South Dakota Biotech Council is the South Dakota recipient of an SBA FAST grant this year,” SBA District Director Jaime Wood said in a statement. “Our small businesses are producing cutting edge technology and the FAST grant provides an additional boost in preparing these businesses to bring their innovation to the commercial market space.”

FAST seeks to improve outcomes in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs for underserved communities by increasing participation from women-owned, rural-based, and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses.

FAST award recipients this year across the U.S. and territories include state and local economic development organizations, Small Business Technology Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, incubators, accelerators, colleges, and universities. All awardees will provide support to small businesses developing advanced technologies.

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“The SBA’s FAST program investment helps South Dakota Biotech to improve the competitiveness and success of Small Business Innovation and Research, and the Small Business Technology and Transfer-affiliated businesses in our state,” said Joni Ekstrum, executive director of South Dakota Biotech.

“This funding amplifies our capacity to connect with communities that we may not have reached before, through training and mentorship programs focused on supporting women and minority entrepreneurs to launch new products and grow a business.”