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SBA Administrator Guzman Announces Grant Awardees for New Pilot Program to Bolster Cybersecurity Infrastructure for Emerging Small Businesses

 SBA Awards Nearly $3M in Grants to Help Arkansas, Maryland, and South Dakota Entrepreneurs Combat Rise in Cyberattacks and Threats


On August 23, 2022, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 33 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, announced nearly $3 million in new funding for three state delegates to help emerging small businesses develop their cybersecurity infrastructure. Arkansas, Maryland, and South Dakota representatives are receiving grants that will help deliver cybersecurity assistance to nascent and startup business owners as part of the SBA’s Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program.

“Cybersecurity is increasingly critical for small businesses and startups as they face rising challenges and cyber risks that could disrupt their operations. As we seek to build a stronger and more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, we must innovate and provide resources to meet the growing, evolving needs of our diverse small businesses. With this new funding opportunity, the SBA is leveraging the strengths across our state governments, territories, and tribal governments to provide services to help small businesses get cyber ready and, in the process, fortify our nation’s supply chains,” said SBA Administrator Guzman.

Awarded States and Institutions are:

Arkansas – Forge Institute – $999,650.66

Maryland – Department of Commerce – $930,155.00

South Dakota – Dakota State University – $999,933.00

“This pilot program catalyzes our efforts to help small businesses combat cybersecurity threats,” said SBA Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development Mark Madrid. “These grants empower state governments to innovate, develop new resources, and scale solutions to protect more small businesses from harmful cyberattacks.”

“Businesses nationwide have seen a 50 percent increase in cyber-attacks over the last year,” said SBA Region VIII Administrator Aikta Marcoulier. “It is critical to help small firms identify and find cost effective solutions to be prepared for a cybersecurity threat.”

Dakota State University President Dr. José Marie Griffiths attributes the SBA cybersecurity funding with providing the opportunity to operationalize the DSU faculty and staff’s innovative research to meet the cyber security needs for the state’s small businesses. “This is the goal of our Madison Cyber Labs, to be a hub for research, development, and economic opportunity,” she said. “Our partnership with the SD Fusion Center, Consumer Protection, the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, will offer a robust cyber security program for South Dakota’s small businesses.”

“Dakota State University is home to one of the premier cybersecurity educational institutions in the country, as evidenced by their application being one of the three in the country to receive this award,” said SD Governor Kristi Noem. “This partnership between DSU, the Bureau of Information and Telecommunication, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and SBA will help small businesses better respond to increasing cyber-threats and cyber-attacks.”

According to SBA South Dakota District Director Jaime Wood there are nearly 90,000 small businesses in the state. “The SBA cybersecurity investment in DSU further propels collective capability to diminish catastrophic digital threats. We are thrilled to bring this award to South Dakota to increase cyber safety for our small businesses, their customers, and the global supply chain – it is a game changer in the commercial space,” Wood said.

About the Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program

Cyberattacks are a growing threat to small businesses and the U.S. economy. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, the cost of cybercrimes against the small business community reached $2.4 billion in 2021.

Small businesses are attractive targets because they have information that cybercriminals want, and they typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses.

According to an SBA survey, 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyberattack. Yet many businesses cannot afford professional IT solutions, have limited time to devote to cybersecurity, or do not know where to begin.

The Federal budget for the Cybersecurity for Small Business Pilot Program for 2021-2022 is $3,000,000. SBA awarded three awards, with no single award exceeding $1 million. The period of performance for this award is one-year (12 months).

To learn more about SBA’s programs and services related to cybersecurity, visit

To find additional SBA local resources, visit

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit




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