October 15, 2020
Many states offer free or reduced-price SBIR/STTR support, if you know where to look for it. Much of this support comes from grants to state or local organizations. For example, this website, SBIRLand, was originally funded by a grant from the US Small Business Administration (SBA) Growth Accelerator Fund to Eva Garland Consulting (EGC). The SBA also awards grants through its Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program to state and local economic development agencies, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), accelerators, incubators, women’s business centers, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), colleges, and universities. Applications are competitive, as only one application is allowed per state, and the application must include an accompanying letter from the state governor.
The most recent round of FAST awards for 2020/2021 was announced recently and included 24 states. The 2020/2021 FAST awards support outreach, financial and technical assistance to next generation research and development (R&D) focused small businesses. The program places particular emphasis on helping women, socially/economically disadvantaged individuals, and applicants from underrepresented or rural areas compete in the SBIR and STTR programs.
As an example of a FAST award, in EGC’s headquarters state of North Carolina, First Flight Venture Center (FFVC) has received the award for the past 3 years. In 2019/2020, FFVC’s FAST program supported a cohort of thirty-six (36) entrepreneurs from under-represented groups, including women, minorities and rural-based companies. Cohort members attended a grant-readiness bootcamp and then received one-on-one consultation with expert grant-writer scientific consultants at EGC to prepare them to submit a competitive SBIR/STTR proposal. Six of these companies received additional reduced-cost services through First Flight’s LiftOff Program, in which EGC’s experts provided a Strategic Non-Dilutive Funding Plan and full-service assistance with a Phase I SBIR/STTR proposal. In 2020/2021, FFVC’s FAST program will support two virtual seminars, a grant-readiness bootcamp for another thirty-five (35) companies and additional follow-on support for select companies.
If your state appears on the list below, you can find out more information about their FAST award, and whether your company may benefit, by clicking on the link. The table is from SBIR.gov.