Turning Innovation Into Enterprise

TCWV in the News

Grant aims to help entrepreneurs, small businesses

By Wendy Holdren

The Register-Herald

Sep. 16, 2019

TechConnect West Virginia, in partnership with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, has been awarded a Federal and State Technology Partnership Program (FAST) grant.

The $125,000 U.S. Small Business Administration grant aims to help West Virginia research and development-focused small businesses apply for and win federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

The release said TechConnect’s FAST grant, titled “Bridging the Ecosystem in Science & Technology in West Virginia Program” (BEST in WV), will raise awareness of the benefits of applying for the federal SBIR/STTR programs while providing financial and technical assistance to help companies and researchers do so.

“Everyone agrees we need to grow our economy, and spurring West Virginia’s next generation R&D-focused small businesses to apply for the federal SBIR/STTR programs is a smart way to do it,” Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnect, said in the release. “Researchers can leverage federal and now state money to test new products and services with the goal of establishing new businesses and creating jobs.”

The multibillion-dollar SBIR and STTR programs were developed to help small businesses engage in research and development (R&D) with a strong potential for technology commercialization.

Companies winning an SBIR Phase I award receive up to $150,000 to test their concept. Companies winning an SBIR Phase II award can receive up to $2 million to further test and commercialize their research.

West Virginia, traditionally, has had a low number of applicants for these programs, the release said.

“Growing our technology economy is critical and research-focused companies in the state should take advantage of the SBIR/STTR program,” said Michael Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office. “TechConnect’s FAST grant will work with the Small Business Development Center’s Innovation-Technology (In-Tech) Coordinator to inform potential applicants of not only the benefits of applying, but also offer technical assistance on how to apply.”

Graney noted the State of West Virginia is in the process of establishing an SBIR/STTR State Matching Program, which may provide a $2,500 grant to companies or researchers who submit an SBIR/STTR application; award up to $100,000 to companies who win an SBIR/STTR Phase I grant; and award up to $200,000 over two years to companies who win an SBIR/STTR Phase II grant.

TechConnect’s BEST in WV program will commence activities in the fall.

For more information, visit techconnectwv.org.

Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren