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Starting and running a new business is not easy or inexpensive. To top that off, today’s market is saturated with new products and services! So, how can a new company get the edge on the competition?

The Technology and Economic Development Division (TEDD) of the Texas Engineering Extension Service, with help from NASA, has the answer. Because of an initiative within TEDD’s existing NASA contract for the Mid-Continent Technology Transfer Center, TEDD now offers discounts of up to $2,500 for business, marketing and engineering services provided to minority-owned and women-owned businesses (MOB/WOBs) or those in designated Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZECs).

Lauralee Phillips, project manager and coordinator of the MOB/WOB initiative, says that the goal of the NASA initiative is to make minority- and women-owned businesses more viable and profitable. Phillips says that applying for the subsidized services is a simple process.

“Companies interested in applying for the discounted services should be owned in part (at least 51%) by either a person or persons in a minority group or by a woman, or in designated EZEC zones,” Phillips says. “The business must be located in one of the 14 states within the mid-continent region. However, the size and type of business does not matter but the work is focused on manufacturers.”

A variety of services are offered under the MOB/WOB NASA initiative, which is funded through September 2000.

“The services offered under this initiative range from business plans and market analysis to engineering services, including quality systems, facility layout, methods analysis, manufacturing process planning and more,” Phillips says.

She says hundreds of companies have been contacted, a host of projects are pending and several big projects have been completed, including a project with Covasoft, a software company based in Austin.

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Kathy Fraser

Director of Marketing and Communications

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