University offers help to business seeking high-tech grants

8/12/2010 - By: Claudene Wharton

Small, high-tech companies in Nevada that produce their own uniquely created hardware, software or chemical processing products and procedures are encouraged to apply for a portion of $2.3 billion dollars available from 11 federal agencies through the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program. The University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Business is offering two seminars on applying for the funds, 1 – 3 p.m., Sept. 16 in Reno and Sept. 17 in Las Vegas, through the Nevada Small Business Development Center.

According to Fritz Grupe, Nevada College of Business professor emeritus and manager of the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the NSBDC, more than 40 percent of these funds are awarded to companies with 10 or fewer employees, and much of the money goes to companies with just one to three employees. Nearly one-third of the awards go to first-time awardees every year. Approximately one applicant in ten is successful.

“Grants are awarded in two phases,” Grupe explained. “Phase I grantees receive up to $150,000 for six months of feasibility research. Then, they are generally invited to submit a proposal for up to $1 million for a Phase II award to be used to fully develop a concept over a two-year period.”

The federal agencies that award the grants do so to encourage feasibility research and prototype development that help meet their agencies’ needs. More specific information on those needs and the grant opportunities can be found at sbir.gov.

Some of the granting agencies include the National Institutes of Health, which accepts proposals for different areas of research at different times throughout the year; the Department of Defense, which has a deadline for proposals of Sept. 15; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Agriculture, which have an application deadline of Sept. 2.

Businesses needing more information and guidance prior to the Sept. 16 and Sept. 17 seminars should contact Grupe at (775) 813-7407 or fritz@unr.edu.

“Some Nevada companies have been very successful at obtaining these grants, but generally, Nevada companies can compete more aggressively for them,” Grupe explained. “We are here to encourage and facilitate that.”

To sign up for one of the free seminars should go to nsbdc.org, or call (775) 784-1717 to register for the Reno seminar, or 800-240-7094 to register for the Las Vegas seminar.


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