The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the addition of seven new clusters to the portfolio of communities it supports through the Regional Innovation Clusters initiative. One of them is in Montana.

Regional Innovation Clusters are geographically-concentrated groups of interconnected businesses, suppliers, service providers and related institutions in an industry that drive innovation, job creation and help grow the economy.

“The SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters connect and enhance innovation assets so that small businesses can effectively leverage them to commercialize new technologies and expand into new markets,” said SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development Allen Gutierrez. “The clusters initiative at SBA has helped foster innovations in their regions that ultimately have a global economic impact. These seven new clusters are particularly well suited to focus on rural small business creation that will bring much-needed education, training and expertise to support small business growth in rural locations across our country.”

The new SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters are:

1.  Optics Valley, at the Arizona Technology Council

2.  The Great Plains TMC at the Kansas State University Technology Development Institute

3.    Montana Bioscience Cluster Initiative

4. AgLaunch in the Mid-South Delta Agriculture Innovation Cluster, comprised of primarily rural counties in Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee

5. The Utah Advanced Material Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI), an advanced composites cluster with LSI Business Development and Grow Utah Ventures

6.  The Defense Alliance, Advanced Power and Energy Cluster (APC) in Minneapolis-St Paul, Minn.

7. Conductor Regional Innovation Cluster in Healthcare, Education, and Data/Decision Sciences, a project of Startup Junkie, LLC, a Veteran-Owned Small Business, in Central Arkansas.