Opening Doors Blog

Government Grants: A Source of Funding to Move Forward with your Technology

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs can be a great way to fund technology development without giving up equity in your company or taking on debt. These programs serve as a great source of non-dilutive capital for your business.

These are three-phase programs where your company can identify and service government needs to fund development of technology you can then move into a broader market. Phase I is a proof-of-concept phase where you can test the scientific, technical, and commercial merit and feasibility of a concept that lasts roughly six months. Award of a Phase II grant depends on your success with Phase I. This is a two-year prototype phase where you mature your technology to the point you can pursue non-SBIR revenue. Phase III is the capture of this non-SBIR revenue. This revenue can in the form of B2B or B2C sales, or can consist of follow-on government contracts to deploy the technology.

Funding is available from most of the major government agencies. The key is determining research of interest to one or more government agencies from the published research topics that aligns with your company’s goals and core competencies. It is important to realize that more than one agency could have an interest in your technology. For example, a device that is of interest to NASA might also be of interest to the DoD for the Air Force.

Keeping in mind that the goal is commercialization, you will need a short commercialization plan for your Phase I proposal, and then a more detailed plan for Phase II. For best results from start to finish, it is best if you have the technology roadmap and market introduction thought through at the onset. Presenting a comprehensive, well-considered plan at Phase I that remains consistent into Phase II and can be executed to achieve Phase III revenue increases your chances for success, both in winning an SBIR award and in actually bringing your technology to market.

As part of rating your proposal, your commercialization plan will be rated on your knowledge of the market, not just your technology. Being able to clearly elucidate your target market, its size, forecasted growth, market drivers, and barriers to entry, as well as including a competitive analysis demonstrate you’ve done sufficient market research. Giving consideration to required regulatory approvals, channels strategies, and partnering opportunities lend credibility to your ability to realize revenue by commercializing your technology.

To add a cautionary observation, from start to finish, Phase I through Phase II to achieving Phase III revenue can be a three-year process. If your window of opportunity for your technology in your target market is shorter, then SBIR funds can supplement other sources of funding, but the prolonged timeline precludes you from relying solely on SBIR / STTR funding.

To end on a high note, many companies have successfully leveraged SBIR / STTR funding to develop and advance a technology and achieve commercial success. Developing a well-considered commercialization plan with measurable milestones and tracking to it are good business practices in general, but will certainly serve you well for success within the SBIR and STTR programs.

BIO

Ed Kase has been focused in strategic marketing and business development for more than 20 years, helping companies understand market conditions and implement go-to-market strategies. His expertise includes commercialization of government-funded technologies, with particular focus on the SBIR program. Technologies include software, medical devices, scientific instrumentation, aerospace systems, and pharmaceutical technologies. 

Boulder SBDC Receives a Grant from JPMorgan Chase

Monday, September 12, 2016
The Boulder Small Business Development Center was recently awarded a $60,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase in support of our Path to Entrepreneurship (P2e) Program, which will offer practical education programs and technical assistance to low-to-moderate income (LMI) individuals to help start new businesses or grow existing businesses. The program is designed to assist underserved populations to progress to the next level of entrepreneurial success.
  
Even though Boulder is generally known for high tech entrepreneurship and as being a high-net worth community, 14% of the city’s population is below the poverty level of $23,550 for a family of 4.* The efforts of the P2e Program are designed to directly help LMI residents establish financial stability through business ownership. Their success will not only enrich their own lives, but also benefit Boulder’s economy and community as a whole.
 
Business ownership can be a path out of poverty and into a solid financial future for many LMI individuals. However, barriers such as lack of education and experience, lack of exposure to business ownership as a viable career option (and a lack of confidence in their own success), language barriers, lack of awareness of resources and lack of trust in organizations that can provide support often block the path to success for these individuals.

The P2e Program will provide outreach, workshops, educational programs and technical assistance that will help LMI individuals reach their potential as business owners. Thanks to the financial support of JPMorgan Chase, the Boulder SBDC will now be able to continue and expand the program.

The program will include Bilingual Business Bootcamp series, Latino Business Mentor Roundtable series, How to Start a Restaurant Series, business basics workshops and one-on-one business assistance. Through this program, the Boulder SBDC will assist new and developing businesses and train new business owners by providing workshops and resources to LMI individuals in Boulder and the surrounding areas. 


*Source: The Community Foundation of Boulder County 2015 Trends Report; Colorado State Demography Office; 2013 American Community Survey

Applications being accepted for Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Programs

Thursday, July 07, 2016
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade is accepting applications for the first grant cycle of the Advanced Industries Accelerator grant programs for fiscal year 2017. Online applications are being accepted at www.advancecolorado.com/aiprograms for Proof of Concept grants and Early-Stage Capital & Retention grants. Applications are due August 31, 2016.

The Advanced Industries Accelerator Programs promote growth and sustainability in Colorado's advanced industries by helping drive innovation, accelerating commercialization, encouraging public-private partnerships, increasing access to early stage capital and creating a strong ecosystem that increases the state's global competitiveness. 

Colorado's advanced industries are: Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Bioscience, Electronics, Energy and Natural Resources, Infrastructure Engineering, and Technology and Information. 

Proof of Concept grants are open to Colorado research universities, federal labs located in Colorado, and other labs with valid technology transfer offices. These grants are for pre-commercialization research and commercialization preparation. Grants up to $150,000 will be awarded. 

Early Stage Capital and Retention grants fund companies commercializing innovative technologies to create viable products that meet a market need and can be created or manufactured in Colorado and exported globally. Grants up to $250,000 will be awarded. 

For more information about the Advanced Industries Accelerator Programs, including upcoming information sessions, guidelines and grant cycles, please visit www.advancecolorado.com/aiprograms.

SBA Launches 3rd Annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition to Award $3.95 Million for Small Business Startups

Thursday, May 12, 2016
For the third year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching a Growth Accelerator Fund competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each, totaling $3.95 million.  The application period is from May 2-June 3 and information about the application process can be found at: www.sba.gov/accelerators or www.challenge.gov

The announcement about the fund competition was made during National Small Business Week. 

“As we celebrate National Small Business Week this week, it is only fitting that we launch our third annual Growth Accelerator Fund competition to empower more of America’s small businesses,” said Mark Walsh, Associate Administrator for the Office of Investment and Innovation.  “Accelerators provide valuable resources to potential startups: a physical infrastructure to work in their infancy, mentoring, business-plan assistance, networking, opportunities to obtain venture capital, and introductions to potential customers, partners and suppliers—all critical elements to ensuring that small businesses flourish and succeed.  Last year’s competition was so successful, we’ve added more federal partners including our very own Office of Native American Affairs and Office of Veterans Business Development to help bring more Native-American-owned, veteran-owned, women-owned and minority-owned small businesses into the fold.”


New to this year’s competition, SBA is partnering with several other federal agencies -- National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Education  (DoED) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) -- to provide additional prizes to accelerators that assist entrepreneurs with submitting proposals for the Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.  SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation (OII), with support from the Office of International Trade (OIT), is also partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank to provide prizes to U.S. accelerators that assist the African descendant start-up community in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Special consideration will be given to these accelerator models which support women-owned or minority-owned small businesses.  


Similar to last year’s competition, several panels containing expert judges from the private and public sector with collective experience in early stage investing, entrepreneurship, academia, start-ups and economic development will select the winners.  The competition includes accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces or other models.  The panel will give particular attention to applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space.


Through this competition, the SBA is looking to support the development of accelerators and their support of startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital (i.e., venture capital and other investors).


In addition, the SBA is also seeking accelerators headed by women and those who support them or other underrepresented groups, 44 percent of last year’s accelerator winners were run by women and 41 percent were classified as underrepresented groups. 


Special consideration will be given to manufacturing accelerator models and models which support the White House Power Initiative during this year’s competition, because they are critical to job growth and strengthening the nation’s economy.

For more information on last year’s competition, please read the Report to the Congress of the United States on Q1 metrics and results from our first batch of winners. 


Please click here for the Growth Accelerator Fund Fact Sheet and specifics on how to apply and the timeline for 2016’s competition.  For questions or comments, please contact accelerators@sba.gov.

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