Published on 06/06/18

UGA Extension, Fort Valley State University to host small business workshop

By Clint Thompson

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and Fort Valley State University (FVSU) will host the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Small Business Innovation Research Workshop on Tuesday, June 19, from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at FVSU in Fort Valley, Georgia.

The workshop will introduce small business owners and entrepreneurs to significant funding opportunities available from the USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The SBIR program offers small business owners the chance to receive federal funding to research and explore new product ideas. Representatives from the Small Business Development Center — a UGA public service and outreach unit — UGA Extension, FVSU and the Georgia Institute of Technology will be on hand to discuss these grants and explain SBIR, grant eligibility and application requirements.

“To attend the workshop, all they have to be is curious. If they’re a small business owner or entrepreneur who feels like they’ve got an innovative idea for a great business, we invite them to attend this workshop,” said Andrea Scarrow, UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program development coordinator for the Southwest District.

The workshop is free, but those interested in attending should contact Jolain Luke at 229-386-3812 or register online at

Grant proposals will be accepted for topics related to:

  • Forests and related resources
  • Plant production and protection biology
  • Animal production and protection
  • Air, water and soils
  • Food science and nutrition
  • Rural development
  • Aquaculture
  • Biofuels and biobased products
  • Small and midsized farms
  • Plant production and protection engineering

Scarrow partnered with Joy Moten-Thomas, FVSU assistant administrator for community development and outreach, to plan and present the workshop.

“There are very few grant opportunities that are available directly to Georgia’s business owners operating in the agricultural sector. We, as an Extension program, see the value of making sure that our businesses that serve as the backbone of our economy have knowledge of this program and have an opportunity to compete for this funding,” Moten-Thomas said.

The SBIR program offers grants up to $100,000 in phase one, which covers eight months and supports concept development. Companies can then move to phase two and apply for grants up to $600,000, which covers 24 months and allows small businesses to scale up their ideas and approach commercialization.

Clint Thompson is an agriculture writer based in Tifton, Georgia.

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