The Nevada Small Business Development Center at the University of Nevada, Reno received a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration enabling it to provide direct financial support to eligible companies interested in the Small Business Innovation Research program and the closely-related Small Business Technology Transfer program. The funding takes the form of technical assistance grants that cover up to $2,000 in support of University faculty to assist companies in preparing proposals for these federally-funded programs.
“The SBIR and STTR programs are a key source of early-stage funding for small, high-tech, for-profit, start-up companies in the United States,” SBIR program manager at the NSBDC, Fritz Grupe, said.
These federally mandated programs provide more than $2 billion each year to carry out leading-edge, high-risk research that allows qualifying businesses to grow. More than 40 percent of the funds are awarded to companies with 10 or fewer employees and much of the money goes to companies with between one and three employees. Nearly one third of the awards go to first-time winners every year.SBIR and STTR provide funding and support in three phases: research, development and commercialization. Small businesses can receive up to $150,000 for feasibility research in phase one and up to $1 million for prototype development in phase two. Some of the participating federal agencies provide additional financial and management assistance subsequent to phase two.
“These are tough times for startup technology companies trying to bring a great idea to market,” Grupe, said. “Establishing that an idea makes sense and is feasible takes money that most companies don’t have.”
According to Grupe, the competition for this financial support is tough; approximately one in 15 proposals are funded in phase one. SBIR and STTR are the largest start-up funds in the United States. In order to compete effectively, many entrepreneurs need help in preparing a competitive proposal under these programs, which is where the NSBDC comes in.
“I review company proposals and offer feedback,” Grupe said. “I also often put companies in contact with a University researcher to assist with the proposal. This assistance greatly aids companies in need of an expert to help substantiate their idea.”
Only a few NSBDC technical assistance grants remain to be committed. Grupe advises interested companies to apply soon. For further information about the technical assistance grants, contact Grupe,[email protected], 775-813-7407. More information about the SBIR and STTR grants and the detailed proposal process is available on the NSBDC website at www.nsbdc.org. A short video is also available explaining the process.
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