On Capitol Hill on July 22, 2014, I joined leaders of JP Morgan Chase as they announced a five-year, $30 million philanthropic investment to support the pioneering work of American small businesses joining “regional clusters.” Clusters are public-private partnerships that convene a region’s corporations, small businesses, universities, investors and regional economic organizations to achieve synergies and productivity levels that a single company could not. Chase’s commitment is believed to be the largest private-sector contribution to date in support of clusters.
SBA was the very first federal agency supporting this regional growth strategy back in 2010. Since then, we’ve played a leading role in interagency efforts to create and support clusters. We’ve provided more than $21 million in government grants and contracts, and we’ve organized forums for cluster leaders to discuss strategies to increase the commercialization of new technologies created by small businesses.
Clusters are supporting entrepreneurs who work in some of the key emerging industries of the 21st century. This matters, because it’s our small businesses that have emerged as America’s leading innovators, producing 13 times more patents per employee than large firms. Small businesses employ more than 40 percent of America’s high-tech workers, and their size and nimbleness allows them to quickly adapt to emerging science and changing commercial realities.