Posted at 6:55 AM
It all starts with an idea. Sometimes it can be as simple as a “what-if” lodged in the back of our minds that can spark the next great invention. A simple idea, when coupled with ingenuity and opportunity, can transform the world we live in for the better. That’s the awesome power of innovation.
Innovation, one of the Commerce Department’s five strategic goals, is defined as “the invention, improvement, and commercialization of new products, processes, and services ...” It plays an integral role in the mission of all 12 bureaus housed within the department.
Both innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of the nation’s economy, and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is leading efforts to ensure that minority-owned enterprises are positioned to excel in science, technology and business sectors.
The agency just officially launched its new Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3) in September. I-3 is a national outreach effort aimed at increasing the participation of MBEs and minority-serving institutions in the federal laboratory network. It’s designed to connect MBEs and students to valuable science, manufacturing and research resources in hundreds of federal labs across the U.S.
The initiative is in partnership with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. I-3 is primarily designed to support MBDA’s efforts to focus on expanding opportunities for MBEs to have access to new technology to create and bring new products to domestic and international markets. Each year, the United States spends more than $130 billion annually on research and development.
Through the I-3, MBEs and students have access to federal resources to help them move their ideas from the research and development phase to commercial products and services.
Since the launch, MBDA has hosted various information webinars, panel discussions and briefings to inform and engage MBEs about I-3 and opportunities to connect to the federal lab network. The Agency is scheduled to host its next event “Innovation in Action,” Oct. 27 in Chicago. Registration is free and livestream will be available at http://www.mbda.gov/main/inclusive-innovation-action .