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Turning Innovation Into Enterprise

Bridging the Ecosystem in Science & Technology in West Virginia – BEST in WV

The “BEST in West Virginia” program aims to increase the number of SBIR-STTR proposals and awards to fund innovative technology ideas from West Virginia-based applicants. TechConnectWV is pleased to present this program in partnership with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center. 

A STEM entrepreneur who is launching a business in any field using a science or technology-based product or service may benefit from the SBIR-STTR program. The BEST in West Virginia program offers training and resources to help your STEM-based small business learn how to navigate SBIRs and STTRs, which are a non-dilutive source of early stage funding. 

What are the SBIR/STTR Programs?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program is up to a three-phase award program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which provides qualified small businesses with opportunities to propose innovative ideas that meet the specific or general research and research and development needs of the federal government agencies.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions.

How do I know if I’m a good fit for SBIR/STTR funding?

  • Are you a small for-profit business (less than 500 employees) or have an idea that you want to turn into a business?
  • Is your idea based on science and/or technology?
  • Is your idea innovative?
  • Do you reside in West Virginia?
  • Is your idea commercially viable & feasible?
  • Are you looking for early-stage funding to validate your concept and/or build a prototype and beyond?
  • If so, you may be a good fit for SBIR/STTR funding—and our BEST in West Virginia program can help you get it.

Why might SBIR/STTR be a good fit for you?

The SBIR/STTR programs are one of the best funding mechanisms around for early-stage ventures. The funding offers:

  • Money at a time when no one else will invest (at the concept phase).
  • Money for risky ideas that need to be further developed.
  • Non-dilutive funding. You don’t have to give up a piece of your company.
  • Multi-Phase investment. But not guaranteed. Phase I: Concept Validation (like Seed), Phase II: Pilot Validation (like angel), Phase III: Commercialization
  • Big Money: Phase I amounts vary but are generally between $150,000 to $250,000; Phase II funding is between $500,000 to $1,500,000.
  • Need Help With What to do Next? Check out BEST in West Virginia

What does BEST in West Virginia offer?

The BEST in WV program is designed to encourage participation in the SBIR/STTR program by educating entrepreneurs about the SBIR/STTR components and helping them navigate the proposal writing process. Through participation in the BEST in WV program, you and your venture can:

  • Learn what SBIR/STTR is all about, and if you might be a fit.
  • Connect to potential partners across West Virginia to create strong SBIR/STTR teams.
  • If you aren’t yet ready for the SBIR/STTR program, learn what you need to do & get help doing it.
  • Learn about alternate forms of funding your idea/business and how they work together with the SBIR/STTR program.
  • Get proposal writing assistance and maybe even financial assistance to help with your proposal.
  • Get help with creating a strategic plan for growing your entire business from trusted experts.

Program Leadership

Richard Giersch, Director of Entrepreneurial Services

Rich Giersch is a principal investigator on a $3.5MM STTR that is focused on building the commercialization ecosystem for life science companies in the Southeast US. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Board for the Bioscience Association of West Virginia, Strategic Advisor for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to Life Science Washington Institute, Program Director for the Seattle based DRIVe business accelerator, and CEO of West Virginia based Valtari Bio.

He has held Director level positions at two venture capital firms, was the chief operating officer of a biotech company in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and the Chief Science Officer for the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers University. He has helped companies secure over $100 million in federal funding, tax, and relocation incentives and written over $15M in successful SBIR/STTR applications.

Program Offerings

  • Monthly SBIR/STTR Boot camps; for more information, click here.
  • Quarterly Proposal Writing Workshop, March 16; for more information and to register, click here.
  • One-on-one in-person or virtual meetings with our expert SBIR/STTR coaches
  • Referrals for assistance in navigating the registration process
  • Connection to potential partners across the state

Interested? Contact us at info@techconnectwv.com.  We can help answer your questions and assist you in determining if you are a good fit for SBIR/STTR.

Sign up for our mailing list so you can stay informed about boot camps, workshops and the mentoring network.

Helpful Resources – for a list of resources, click here.

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.