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Six Local Companies Receive $269,963 in State Grants through Commerce RI and STAC

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI) and the Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) today announced that six Rhode Island businesses will receive $269,963 in grants from the state's Innovate Rhode Island Small Business Fund (Innovate RI Fund). The state grants will leverage $1,027,654 in federal funds.

This is the second year the grants have been available through the Innovate RI Fund. The Rhode Island General Assembly created the fund in 2013 to help foster job creation, facilitate small business development and enhance the workforce pipeline.

"To create jobs and grow our economy, we must continue to support and invest in our existing assets, such as the great minds at work at our colleges, universities, pioneering businesses and research facilities," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "The Innovate Rhode Island Fund enables us to promote and encourage cutting-edge research, support our small businesses and attract more federal research dollars to Rhode Island."

"Through the Innovate RI Fund, Commerce RI and STAC are helping research-driven, small businesses to thrive in Rhode Island," said Marcel A. Valois, executive director of Commerce RI. "These companies are conducting ground-breaking work to solve real-world problems. With our support, they are able to accomplish that work right here in Rhode Island."

Through the Innovate RI Fund, eligible Rhode Island small businesses may apply for grants to defray the cost of applying for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) awards, match SBIR/STTR Phase I awards and hire interns. Each company has received a competitive Phase I SBIR/STTR grant from the federal government to develop a technology that is of interest to a federal agency.

The goals of the Innovate RI Fund are to: • Leverage state funds to encourage and support Rhode Island entrepreneurial participation in the federal SBIR/STTR programs; • Increase the amount of federal research dollars received by Rhode Island firms; • Sustain companies through the early stages of product development; • Encourage the establishment of high potential, high quality, high growth ventures in Rhode Island; and • Enhance the talent pipeline in the life sciences and engineering fields.

Last year, eight companies received $359,880 in state grants to leverage $1,424,592 in federal SBIR/STTR Phase I awards. Two of these companies, CREmedical and Vision Systems, have received SBIR/STTR Phase II awards totaling an additional $1,250,000 in federal funding.

The grants announced today are the result of the first call for applications for FY 2015. Approximately $90,000 is still available to fund three additional grants by June 30, 2015. Applications are sought on a quarterly basis. The next call for applications will be posted in January 2015 for companies that received SBIR/STTR Phase I awards in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Grant recipients in this award round employ a total of 59 workers in scientific, managerial, technical and administrative positions and are located in Barrington, East Greenwich, East Providence, Lincoln, North Kingstown and South Kingstown.

The state grant funds are provided to insure companies are successful in completing the federally funded work and submitting a Phase II grant proposal with the goal of receiving additional funding to further advance the technology being developed.

State matching grants are equal to 30 percent of the federal award up to a maximum of $45,000. The grants are disbursed in two phases, with 75 percent of the grant disbursed upon successful application to the program and the remaining 25 percent disbursed upon submission of a Phase II proposal.

For more information on the Innovate RI Fund, visit

Innovate RI Fund Grant Awards

Applied Radar, Inc., North Kingstown, RI Award amount: $44,999 This project will develop a low-profile, lightweight, high bandwidth Multi-Band antennae system that can be used for advanced helicopter designs.

BTech Acoustics LLC, Barrington RI Award amount: $44,998 This project will develop velocity sensors for use on SONAR arrays that can be installed on the external hull on submarines.

Calista Therapeutics, Lincoln, RI Award amount: $45,000 This project will provide pre-clinical testing of a new peptide drug to treat Cystic Fibrosis.

ProThera Biologics, East Providence, RI Award amount: $45,000 This project will obtain proof of concept for how certain proteins can be used to reduce the effects of newborn brain injuries.

Navatek CFD Technologies, LLC, South Kingstown, RI Award amount: $44,992 This project will develop a galley-scullery water conservation system that will reduce wastewater storage needs and allow combat ships to operate for longer times in coastal waters.

Voltserver, East Greenwich, RI Award amount: $44,973 This project will speed the adoption of solid state lighting in commercial buildings by using a safe and efficient method for distributing high voltage power and high band width communications.

About Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI) Commerce RI is the official economic development organization for the state of Rhode Island. Commerce RI's mission is to work with public, private and non-profit partners to create the conditions for businesses in all sectors to thrive and to improve the quality of life for our citizens by promoting the State's long-term economic health and prosperity.

About Rhode Island Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) An initiative implemented from within Commerce RI, STAC is a coalition of leaders in the field of science and technology representing business, medicine, higher education and government. STAC was formed in 2006 and is charged with recommending to state leadership strategic investments that drive economic development and job creation by maximizing the economic impact of research, technology and innovation. STAC policies and programs: 1) support the state's research and development activity and promote collaboration across institutions; 2) encourage entrepreneurship and new company creation through the transfer of new technologies and discoveries into the marketplace; and 3) create an environment that enables innovation to flourish. STAC serves as Governing Committee for the $20 million RI NSF EPSCoR grant.

In addition to the Innovate RI Fund grants, since 2007, $9.8 million in STAC's Collaborative Research seed grants have brought $43 million back to the state in the form of follow-on funding.

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