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Title: Expand Underrepresented Participation in High-Tech Start-Ups.
Abstract: When starting small businesses, particularly in high-tech sectors like artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, or the Internet of Things (IoT), women and underrepresented minority groups face additional hurdles in securing funding and investment. Not only is such a discrepancy in investment socially unjust, but it deprives the US of the advantages in innovation and global competition that could stem from the widening participation of the underrepresented population in innovative sectors. Although targeted support to women and underrepresented minority-owned businesses is being provided by the federal government and the private sector, more remains to be done to close the investment gap. The US Small Business Administration (SBA, 2013) provides more than $3.5 billion in funding to over 5,000 startups per year through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Moreover, the Small Business Act provides these programs with a mandate to target women and underrepresented minority groups. Despite this mandate from SBA, only 15% of those funds went to minority-owned companies (SBA, 2013). Funding opportunities from the private sector tell a similar story. Diversity VC, a non-profit partnership promoting diversity in Venture Capital, reported in 2019 that in a comprehensive survey (Azevedo, 2019) of around 10,000 founders receiving venture capital backing, only 9% were women and a mere 1% were Black. In order to i) accelerate innovation and increase participation of under-represented minorities in start-ups of “new industry”, and ii) to ensure US competitiveness in the global market, in 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) introduced the Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship (SBPRDF) program and selected the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) to administer the program. In recognition of ASEE’s successful performance in meeting the objectives of the SBPRDF program, in 2019 NSF/IIP (Industrial Innovation and Partnerships) program leadership selected ASEE to administer the Innovative Postdoctoral Entrepreneurial Research Fellowship (IPERF) program. The overarching goal of the IPERF program is to emphasize and strengthen the entrepreneurial development of underrepresented Fellows. The IPERF program also aims to advance best practices in postdoctoral programs and impart cross-disciplinary expertise in the application of new technologies like AI and IoT in “new industries” based on bioengineering and biochemistry technologies.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1853888
NSF-PAR ID:
10448545
Author(s) / Creator(s):
;
Editor(s):
CIEC panel
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2023 Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration (CIEC)
Volume:
ETD505
Issue:
ASEE
Page Range / eLocation ID:
3-6
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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