Since 2017, Tennessee has wisely supported economic growth and high-tech innovation by providing state matching funds to start-up companies receiving federal SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) awards.
These state matching funds are vital to help start-ups overcome hurdles they so often experience during their earliest stages and foster the growth-focused businesses and high-wage jobs throughout Tennessee.
The SBIR/STTR programs, provide companies with a partial state match on the competitive federal funds awarded to them for the commercialization of their technologies. To date, 52 companies in Tennessee have leveraged $24 million in federal money through the program. Many of these companies have supported hundreds of direct and indirect high-tech jobs and gone onto receive more than $53 million in private funding.
Referred to as the America’s Seed Fund, these two programs boast participation from nearly every government agency seeking new technologies to address our country’s needs, including Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, and the National Science Foundation.
Federal funds turn promising ideas into commercial realities
National companies like Symantec, Qualcomm, and 23andMe all received SBIR/STTR funding to commercialize new technologies. Beyond the big names, countless small and midsized companies have accessed these federal research dollars to bring a promising technical idea into commercial reality.
In Tennessee, SBIR recipients have included companies located in every region of our state, in both rural and urban settings. Tennessee technical prowess is well known, from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to Vanderbilt Health, to Memphis’s medical device industry and in between. We have technical power houses across our state that create new technologies and companies spurring economic growth.
My company, Stony Creek Colors, based in Springfield, received Tennessee matching funds in 2018 and 2020 for SBIR/STTR awards from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation. For us, SBIR funding and Tennessee’s match were critical to our commercialization of two new technologies that have positioned us to become the global leader in plant-based indigo dye.
Source: The Tennessean|Opinion