U.S. SBA awards TechConnect West Virginia $125,000 FAST grant
August 17, 2021
CHARLESTON — TechConnect West Virginia, in partnership with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center, has been awarded a third Federal and State Technology Partnership Program (FAST) grant by the U.S. Small Business Administration in the amount of $125,000 to help West Virginia research and development (R&D)-focused small businesses apply for and win federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants. TechConnect received the first grant award in 2019.
“I am very excited TechConnect West Virginia received the FAST Grant for another year of funding,” stated SBA’s West Virginia District Director Karen Friel. “In the past couple years they have held nearly 25 training events, serving more than 550 participants, in addition to a four-part series that attracted nearly 70 attendees.”
TechConnect’s FAST grant, entitled “Bridging the Ecosystem in Science & Technology in West Virginia Program” (BEST in WV), is raising 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.
Activities center around providing hands-on education for entrepreneurs and small business owners about how to apply for SBIR/STTR funding, including monthly online bootcamps that highlight best practices for applying for funding, and connecting entrepreneurs with the federal and state resources available for grant applicants.
“The SBA’s investment in West Virginia, through the FAST program, has been instrumental in allowing TechConnect to reach untapped communities in the Mountain State through training and assistance programs that encourage women, young people, and minority entrepreneurs with transformational potential to launch new products and grow their venture,” said Anne Barth, Executive Director, TechConnect West Virginia. “FAST funding has provided the foundation for TechConnect to rapidly improve the competitiveness and success of SBIR-STTR businesses in our state.”
The multi-billion-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. These highly competitive programs allow innovative small businesses to offset the cost of R&D while leaving them in control of their intellectual property.
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 State of West Virginia launched an SBIR/STTR State Matching Grant Program in 2020. The program provides a $2,500 grant to companies or researchers who submit an SBIR/STTR application and, dependent on available funds, may award up to $100,000 to companies who win an SBIR/STTR Phase I grant and up to $200,000 over two years to companies who win an SBIR/STTR Phase II grant.