Last year, 14 Nevada companies received grants through the Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (SBIR/STTR), federally funded programs that support companies pursuing innovative technologies. However, those involved in economic development in the state believe that more Nevada companies can successfully compete for these grants that can provide companies with more than $1 million to develop cutting-edge technologies.
The Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) and the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business will offer a workshop on Oct. 19 in Reno to assist Nevada companies that may be interested in competing for these funds. In addition, the NSBDC recently received a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration that will enable it to provide further assistance to companies eligible to compete for these funds. The grant will allow the NSBDC to award 10 $500 travel stipends to those who want to attend the 2012 National SBIR/STTR Conference Nov. 13-15 in Portland, Ore., and to award grants that will cover up to $2,000 in support for university or research faculty to help companies prepare proposals.
The Oct. 19, all-day workshop in Reno will provide intensive training on proposal writing techniques and tips and is intended to increase the number of awards received by Nevada companies.
“The competition for these grants is stiff – approximately one in 15 proposals are funded in Phase I,” explained Fritz Grupe, professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business and manager of the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the NSBDC. “Nevertheless, these programs remain the largest startup fund in the United States, and Nevada companies need to go after them aggressively.”
Through the two programs, 11 agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health, award $2.5 billion annually in grants in two phases. In the first phase, up to $150,000 enables companies to do feasibility studies. In the second phase, as much as a $1.5 million is provided to support further research and development. Each of the agencies has specific priorities and awards the grants to encourage feasibility research and prototype development that helps to meet those identified needs. All of the agencies have representatives available to talk to potential grant applicants about their ideas at the national conference in Portland next month.
The Oct. 19 workshop in Reno will be led Michael Kurek, a nationally recognized consultant who has special expertise in writing these proposals. He is especially active in Michigan, where he works with energy, defense and biological firms to acquire federal funding. He also has extensive industrial experience and keeps close track of how the federal agencies are changing priorities and what kinds of proposals are being funded.
“The workshop aims to show attendees how to win funding, not just how to write a proposal that meets the basic criteria,” Grupe said.
The workshop costs $25 and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Redfield Campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, 18600 Wedge Parkway, in the Nell J. Redfield Building A, Room 215. For more information on the workshop, or to apply for a travel grant to the national conference or a technical assistance grant, contact Grupe at 775-813-7407 or [email protected]. Register for the workshop at http://nsbdc.org/education-