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Utah’s SBIR-STTR Assistance Center

Ask any entrepreneur what the most difficult part of getting their technology off the ground is and the answer will almost always be money. No matter the stage of the business, money is always a top concern, to build, expand or just keep going. For technology based small businesses, a directed program with non-equity position dollars and no strings attached is available. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants are congressionally mandated funds dedicated to research and development of technologies. These highly competitive grants offer non-equity position dollars to companies able to meet the particular needs of participating government agencies and Utah offers a secret weapon to help navigate the process and win the money – Utah’s SBIR-STTR Assistance Center (SSAC).

The Utah Science, Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) supports the SSAC which offers Utah companies free assistance in finding and applying for these equity free Federal dollars dedicated to research and development.  Since opening in 2008, the SSAC has helped over 30 Utah companies from Box Elder to Washington county win over $10 million in funding.

“This funding is critical to bringing new technologies forward helping our Utah companies succeed,” said Mary Cardon, Director of the SSAC. “Our office guides the process from well before submission through the win. We help the company find their best niche and work to present their technology and company in the best light.”

Utah companies applying for SBIR-STTR grants range from one person startups to full operation, profitable companies.  “Be it a medical device, better lighting, cutting edge energy solutions, sensors, composites or data collection, it’s about innovations and solutions for a better America, ” said Cardon.  “Unlike conventional banking, Angel or Venture Capital groups who are looking at the bottom line, this funding is all about the technology. We help companies capable of bringing the next great idea to the marketplace and those who are making today’s already successful technology better.”  

In addition to providing hands-on assistance with individual grants, the SSAC also offers seminars and workshops statewide to help companies learn about the SBIR-STTR process and how to write an award winning grant. The SBIR 101 introductory presentation is offered at no charge twice monthly at the Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College in Sandy, Utah where the SSAC is located.  The SSAC also sponsors Program Managers coming to Utah. Once here, they are able to meet with companies one-on-one as well as present specific information on their agencies’ SBIR-STTR programs.

“We encourage every company with a twist on technology or a new innovation to contact us. Making sure our office knows about the great work of every Utah company is the best way to start the path to these funds,” said Cardon.  To see if your company qualifies for this program go to:  http://www.innovationutah.com/sbir/training/ or contact utahsbir-sttrcenter@utah.gov .