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  • Sophia Zheng

Bludot Wins USDA NIFA SBIR Award – Calling All Rural Economic Development Leaders to Join Study

On May 26th 2021, USDA NIFA announced the awardees for SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and Bludot is proudly selected as a recipient of the SBIR Phase I grant!

The USDA NIFA SBIR Phase I Award is given to innovative startups and small businesses whose objectives are aligned with improving the quality of life in rural America. This includes improving their economic vitality, enhancing the efficiency and equity of public and private investments, and building diversified workforces in regions that are subject to poverty and inequality. We are extremely honored to be selected out of a very competitive pool of applications and thrilled to continue our mission of strengthening local economies with USDA NIFA as a partner.

With this grant, Bludot is excited to announce that we are accepting 43 rural communities to join our SBIR research study. As part of this study, communities will access Bludot’s economic development and business retention platform at no cost and provide key input in how we can elevate rural economic development.

Learn more at our info session on Thursday June 24th at 11am PT, and sign up to the study!

Key objectives of the SBIR Phase I Award Research Study

Rural communities face unique challenges when it comes to economic development. Bludot’s solution has already seen success with communities across over 12 states, some of whom are rural. This research study will allow us to take a deep dive into rural communities, and together in collaboration with the economic development leaders, advance the technology platforms for rural economic development.

There are two main research topics that we are looking to analyze:

1. Efficacy of the capacity building, communications, and managerial functionalities

This objective aims to evaluate how we can increase your Economic Development capacity. Does having a central platform to track engagements with local businesses, collaborate with staff, send targeted outreach, and track analytics help your team achieve more impact with your limited time and resources? What functionalities are most helpful, and what are still missing? On the other end, does having an easy communication channel facilitate more frequent, more open, and more inclusive communication with local business owners, and thus allowing them to get better support and leading to better retention and expansion results?

2. Impact of big data and accessibility

This objective aims to evaluate how much does having local business data, and a platform to easily make use of the data, help your economic development practices. Does it successfully allow you to reach the right audience faster, reach them more frequently, provide more relevant resources, and be more proactive instead of reactive? Additionally, is the analytics tracking effective in helping your team adjust your strategies? What data are most useful, and what data are still missing?

Your input and contribution in both of these objectives will inform the final project report for USDA NIFA.

What you'll get out of the study

1. Access the Bludot platform and data for 6 months at no cost;

2. Maximize your business retention impact in your community; and

3. Join a community of rural economic development leaders and share insights.

What we are looking from you

1. Commitment to participate and engage during the 6 months period;

2. Complete 3 monthly check-ins with us and the project conclusion survey; and

3. Share your opinions! Your input is the most valuable piece of our study. We ask that you share your input and feedback along the way both with us and with the fellow economic development leaders.

Interested in participating in our USDA SBIR Study? Join our info session and sign up!

Are you passionate in rural economic development and looking to advance not only what you currently do for your community but also rural economic development nationwide? We’re looking to partner with you!

We are hosting an info session on Thursday June 24th at 11am PT. Register here.


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