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Applying for Federal Funding to Help Commercialize Discoveries

A woman signing forms at a table

Each year, the federal government offers about $2.5 billion in funding to help small businesses bring new innovations to market — including those originating from public research institutions like the University of Minnesota. The complex applications for such funding, however, can be challenging to understand and to navigate.

The MN-SBIR program aims to shed light on the process. The program assists seed, early stage, emerging and existing firms of up to 500 employees in accessing federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The office provides confidential, one-on-one guidance and advice in business development and technology commercialization to help those applying for SBIR or STTR grants or contract.  For University researchers, these funding sources can provide much needed funds to help bring cutting-edge discoveries beyond the lab and toward commercialization.

“SBIR and STTR funding supports research and development in science and technology across the spectrum of disciplines,” said Pat Dillon, director of MN-SBIR. “These federal funding sources, often in addition to angel investment or venture capital, but not necessarily, will help startups and small businesses continue to develop the technology and move it towards commercialization."

Dillon will hold a series of free office hours at the U’s Office for Technology Commercialization to help those interested in the programs learn how to get started on drafting and submitting a competitive proposal.  She invites U researchers interested in starting a company based on their discoveries to attend, along with researchers and executives from existing U startups. Small business leaders interested in commercializing University-developed technologies are also welcome.

All office hours will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. in 280 McNamara Alumni Center. Contact Pat Dillon at pdillon@mhta.org to reserve a time on one of the following dates:

  • Dec. 19, 2016
  • Jan. 9, 2017
  • Jan. 23, 2017
  • Feb. 6, 2017
  • Feb. 20, 2017
  • March 6, 2017
  • March 20, 2017
  • April 3, 2017
  • April 17, 2017
  • May 1, 2017
  • May 15, 2017
  • June 5, 2017
  • June 19, 2017
  • July 3, 2017
  • July 17, 2017
  • Aug. 7, 2017
  • Aug. 21, 2017
  • Sept. 11, 2017
  • Sept. 25, 2017

MN-SBIR will also hold a monthly workshop on the basics of the SBIR and STTR programs. The first workshop is planned for Jan. 26, 9-11:30 a.m. Check the MHTA event page for more information or to register. MN-SBIR is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Minnesota High Tech Association.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a writer and public relations associate with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

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