Federal Research:

Lessons Learned from the Pilot Technology Access Program

RCED-95-212: Published: Sep 18, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 18, 1995.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Pilot Technology Access Program (TAPP), focusing on the: (1) program's effectiveness and impact on improving small business productivity and innovation; and (2) experiences and the lessons learned by the TAPP centers during the pilot program.

GAO found that: (1) Congress has decided not to fund TAPP beyond fiscal year (FY) 1995; (2) one TAPP center has operated independently on a reduced scale since FY 1993 and the remaining five centers plan to continue operations beyond FY 1995, but they are not sure of their organization, services, and funding; (3) the five centers serviced 1,840 businesses in FY 1994, of which 59 percent were manufacturers and 66 percent were businesses just getting started; (4) TAPP services included technical and nontechnical information, and technical, patent, and marketing assistance; (5) although the program's impact could not be determined, TAPP clients were generally satisfied with the centers' operations and services; (6) center officials were generally pleased with their programs' development and believed that certain individual projects produced favorable results; and (7) lessons learned from TAPP that should be considered in designing future programs include adding more specificity to program goals and objectives, determining whether a separate and distinct federal program is necessary, determining the organizational type best suited to manage such a program, and deciding program funding options.

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