Small Business Economics

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 499–519 | Cite as

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

  • Amol M. JoshiEmail author
  • Todd M. Inouye
  • Jeffrey A. Robinson


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.


Entrepreneurship Economics of minorities Economics of gender Technological innovation R&D 

JEL classifications

L26 J15 J16 O32 O38 



We would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Tim Bates, Bill Bradford, Rob Seamans, Alicia Robb, Maryann Feldman, Michael Verchot, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful insights and valuable feedback on earlier versions of this paper. We also thank NASA and our fellow participants in two Kauffman Minority Entrepreneurship Conferences held in San Francisco and Anaheim in 2016. This research is funded in part by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Rutgers Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amol M. Joshi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Todd M. Inouye
    • 2
  • Jeffrey A. Robinson
    • 3
  1. 1.College of BusinessOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.College of BusinessNiagara UniversityNiagara UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Rutgers Business SchoolRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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