How does agency workforce diversity influence Federal R&D funding of minority and women technology entrepreneurs? An analysis of the SBIR and STTR programs, 2001–2011
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- Joshi, A.M., Inouye, T.M. & Robinson, J.A. Small Bus Econ (2017). doi:10.1007/s11187-017-9882-6
US Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide Federal research and development (R&D) grants to technology ventures. We explore how grantor demographic diversity explains why demographically diverse grantees experience different odds for successfully transitioning from initial to follow-on R&D grants. We empirically analyze 52,126 Phase I SBIR/STTR awards granted by 11 Federal agencies (2001–2011). We find a positive association between agency workforce diversity and Phase II funding for Phase I grantees, but minority and women technology entrepreneurs are less likely to receive this funding than their non-minority and male counterparts. Agencies valuing workforce ethnic diversity or leveraging gender homophily positively influence the likelihood of women technology entrepreneurs obtaining Phase II funding. We discuss evidence-based implications for policy and practice.