The aim of the FAST grant is to encourage more North Dakota businesses to participate in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. The Center for Innovation has been working with several startup companies around the Fargo and Grand Forks areas conducting research and development with the Small Business Administration's support of SBIR development.
The Center for Innovation has been the North Dakota administrator for the SBIR outreach and technical assistance program since 1987.
To date, about 30 North Dakota companies have been awarded more than $30 million in SBIR/STTR awards. The Center for Innovation's SBIR assistance program offers technical assistance to small businesses as they prepare competitive SBIR/STTR Phase I & Phase II proposals.
"These SBIR grants support programs for innovative technology-driven small businesses," Okerlund said. "The Center for Innovation will collaborate with key partners in the state and region to work with North Dakota technology companies with one-on-one counseling and proposal review," said Okerlund.
"We also will help them with SBIR conferences led by nationally recognized presenters, such as Jim Greenwood, and we will provide some financial support to help them complete their first SBIR or STTR proposals," he said.
The FAST Program is designed to stimulate economic development among small, high technology businesses through federally-funded innovation and research and development programs like the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). The project and budget periods are for a 12-month period.
"The FAST program is an important tool of the SBIR/STTR program. The mission of the SBIR program is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation by investing federal research funds in small businesses. STTR focuses on partnerships between small businesses and America's premier universities and nonprofit research institutions. It helps ensure that the world's greatest academics and inventors have the resources they need to transform their ideas from the lab to the marketplace," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet in a release about the recent slate of grants.
"SBIR and STTR are a win-win," Contreras-Sweet said. "Federal agencies are able to meet their R&D needs. Small businesses get the support they need to turn innovative new ideas into job-creating new businesses and these programs strengthen America's competitiveness and global economic leadership."
Proposals were evaluated by a panel of SBIR program managers. The SBA, the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation jointly reviewed the panel's recommendations and made awards based on proposal merit. The grant required varying levels of matching funds from each participating state and territory.
Companies supported by the SBIR and STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S. For example, about 25 percent of R&D Magazine's Top 100 Innovations come from SBIR-funded small businesses.
Contact: Juan Miguel Pedraza, writer/editor National Media Relations Coordinator Division of University & Public Affairs Instructor, Marketing Department College of Business & Public Administration University of North Dakota 701.740.1321 cell 701.777.6571 office juan.pedraza@UND.edu