Creation of New Business Opportunities Through the Establishment of the Water Technology Innovation Cluster


On January 18, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") and the Small Business Administration ("SBA") announced the creation of the Water Technology Innovation Cluster ("WTIC"), a new collaborative effort that recognizes the importance of harnessing regional expertise to encourage economic development, as well as environmental and human health protection. The WTIC was designed to develop and commercialize innovative technologies to solve environmental challenges and spur sustainable economic development and job growth. While the initial focus of the WTIC is water technologies, it has the potential to expand into other environmental areas.

Initial Location and Emphasis

Aspiring for the success of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers in Silicon Valley, the WTIC aims at building and maintaining a vibrant, technology-driven economy in the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana region. This geographic region was chosen based on its high concentration of the major components of a successful technology cluster: universities, large corporations, emerging companies, federal government, state government, local government, and economic development associations. The WTIC intends to bring private businesses together with public utilities and research partners to create innovative environmental technologies to protect and best utilize America's water.


Although the WTIC is not a grant to the community, it will generate opportunities for participants that will allow them to be at the forefront of regional development and job creation. To help kick off this initiative, the EPA has invested $5 million to assist the WTIC with conducting key studies and activities instrumental to its startup. Additionally, the federal government has committed to fund $11.5 million to the WTIC over three to five years, to support and implement the WTIC and develop a national innovation center for drinking water. Up to $1.5 million of those funds has been dedicated to supporting private development in water technology innovation through the Small Business Innovation Research Program.

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