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U.S. SBA Awards TechConnect West Virginia $125,000 FAST Grant

NEWS RELEASE

September 9, 2019

Charleston, W.Va. – – 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 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’s FAST grant, entitled “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.

Activities will center around providing hands-on education for entrepreneurs and small business owners about how to apply for SBIR/STTR funding, creating a “playbook” of instructions and best practices for applying for funding, and connecting entrepreneurs with the federal and state resources available for grant applicants.

“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,” said Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnect. “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 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.

“West Virginians can compete on any stage and I’m glad to see the U.S. Small Business Administration invest in the “Best in WV” initiative through their FAST grant program,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin. “Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation are critical to growing our state’s economy and encouraging SBIR/STTR applicants in our state is a key piece to that. I’m confident TechConnect and their partners will do a tremendous job utilizing these grant dollars to educate entrepreneurs on the benefits of SBIR/STTR and assist them through the application process.”

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said, “I’ve supported the federal SBIR/STTR program for years, and we’ve worked to engage West Virginia companies to apply. With federal funding and the resources the state has secured, we have all the pieces in place to make the most of West Virginia innovation and ingenuity to further build out our tech economy and make our state a great place for innovative companies to invest.”

Michael Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, said, “Growing our technology economy is critical and research-focused companies in the state should take advantage of the SBIR/STTR program. 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, that 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 additional information, contact Anne Barth at (304) 444-2918, anne@techconnectwv.org, or visit www.techconnectwv.org.