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Just like Uber and Lyft applied geolocation technology to a smart phone app, Technology Transfer (T2) is the process of taking existing knowledge or tools and commercializing them. The U.S. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is taking this fast-growing activity and promoting it to minority innovators and industrialists through the InVision Tour.

The InVision Tour educates minorities on T2 and how to use the federal government’s 300-plus laboratories and research centers to create new innovations. The U.S. MBDA sees the Native American community as integral to innovative business creation and growth across the United States.

“For us, it’s important we reach out to the Native American community, which has its own history of being innovative. We want to make sure everyone is participating, and we also hope that tribal colleges can partner more with federal laboratories and access their equipment and expertise,” Bridget Gonzales, Chief of the Office of Legislative, Education & Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. MBDA, told Native Business Magazine.

The InVision Tour kicks off in Atlanta, Georgia, December 6-7, 2018. The series of regional conferences will inform U.S. minorities about the benefits of T2 and what it takes to bring new technologies to the commercial marketplace and protect them through patents and copyrights. The regional events hosted in cities across the country will bring together the various players who form an innovative ecosystem—minority entrepreneurs, minority-serving institutions, incubators and accelerators, universities, investors, federal officials and regional federal laboratories.

The MBDA created the InVision Tour to empower minority business owners and entrepreneurs to imagine, invent and incorporate their own products with federal resources and build wealth for their company, community and country.

“Technology is propelling business growth. There is a lot of innovation in the minority business community that needs to be tapped,” Gonzales said.

The federal government operates more than 300 labs across the country, performing research and development (R&D) across a whole host of business sectors, including energy, health, engineering and cyber security, to name a few. Through these federal laboratories, assets are available to innovators and industrialists, such as the labs themselves, their scientists and engineers with decades of expertise, and R&D funds through federal programs such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), among many others. Those programs are designed to help innovators and entrepreneurs fund ideas to develop prototypes and look at the feasibility of commercializing government R&D.

The MBDA anticipates a turnout of about 200 people at each conference on the InVision Tour. (Future locations and dates will be announced.) The intimate nature of the conferences allows for entrepreneurs to connect and form partnerships with the laboratories, institutions of higher learning, incubators, minority chambers, MBDA staff and other stakeholders.  

“We want to ensure connections are made and action plans are put in place,” Gonzales said.

Learn more about the MBDA Invision Tour at mbdainvisiontour.com.

Register here to attend the first InVision Tour conference December 6-7, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia.

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