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November 16, 2012
By Claudene Wharton
Last year, 14 Nevada companies received grants through the Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (SBIR/STTR), federally funded programs that support companies pursuing innovative technologies. However, those involved in economic development in the state believe that more Nevada companies can successfully compete for these grants that can provide companies with more than $1 million to develop cutting-edge technologies.
The Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) and the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business will offer a workshop Dec. 5 at the Las Vegas Business Success Center to assist Nevada companies that may be interested in competing for these funds. The workshop will provide intensive training on proposal writing techniques and tips and is intended to increase the number of awards received by Nevada companies.
"The competition for these grants is stiff - approximately one in 15 proposals are funded in Phase I," explained Fritz Grupe, professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business and manager of the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the NSBDC. "Nevertheless, these programs remain the largest startup fund in the United States, and Nevada companies need to go after them aggressively."
Through the two programs, 11 agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health, award $2.5 billion annually in grants in two phases. In the first phase, up to $150,000 enables companies to do feasibility studies. In the second phase, as much as a $1.5 million is provided to support further research and development. Each of the agencies has specific priorities and awards the grants to encourage feasibility research and prototype development that helps to meet those identified needs.
The Dec. 5 workshop in Las Vegas will focus on Department of Defense programs, but is applicable to all the SBIR/STTR agencies. It will be led by Becky Aistrup, a nationally recognized consultant who was previously the SBIR/STTR program director for the Minnesota Science and Technology Authority. Aistrup also has extensive private sector experience within the advanced materials, electronics, biotechnology and medical industry sectors. She closely tracks how the 11 federal agencies are changing priorities and what kinds of proposals are being funded. She will share that information, as well as valuable tips on writing effective proposals, at the workshop.
"The workshop aims to show attendees how to win funding, not just how to write proposal that meet the basic criteria," Grupe said.
The workshop will be divided into two sessions. Session One will be held 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Dec. 5, and will provide an overview of the SBIR/STTR programs. It is free. Session Two will be held 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will provide tips on successful proposal writing. Session Two costs $25. Both sessions will be held at the NSBDC's Las Vegas Business Success Center, 1951 Stella Lake St., Room 30. For more information on the workshop, contact Bob Shriver, associate program manager at (775) 287-8020 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Register for the workshop online, or call (775) 784-4436 or (775) 784-1717.