The Center for Technology Commercialization encourages entrepreneurs to seek federal small business grants

The federal government has set aside over $3.7 billion in programs such as as the Small Business Innovation Research grant program. That’s according to CTC Program Manager Todd Strother, who spoke yesterday at a meeting of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce in Madison.

Small businesses eligible for these federal grants must conduct research to find an innovative solution to a significant problem or need. The goal is for participating businesses to develop high-impact commercial products.

According to Strother, these federal grants fund high-risk and high-payback innovations.

“If it’s low-risk, get venture capital,” he said.

After companies receive SBIR grants, they can work with other businesses or fund their research through a university.

In order to qualify as a small business for the grant, companies have to be for-profit with more than 50 percent U.S. ownership and fewer than 500 employees.

According to the SBIR website, the grant roadmap has three phases. Phase one, which is about $150,000 for six months in funds, requires the startup to establish technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential of the proposed research efforts. Phase two, an amount of no more than $1 million for two years, continues the research efforts. Phase three is for the business to pursue commercialization resulting from the prior funded research.

The CTC is a part of the UW System and services are free. The group assists entrepreneurs and small businesses in preparing business or commercialization plans and writing grants such as SBIR.

Fifteen Wisconsin companies received around $8.6 million in federal seed funding grants in 2019. That includes SBIR as well as related STTR grants, which stands for Small Business Technology Transfer.

See more on the SBIR and STTR grant programs at:


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