Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation's Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) today announced this year's recipients of the Innovate Rhode Island Small Business Fund (IRISBF) matching grants for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase 1 grant recipients: Propel LLC, Btech Accoustics LLC, Electro Standards, Prothera Biologics, Response Technologies and T.E.A.M., Inc.
"The Innovate Rhode Island Small Business Fund is just one of several initiatives we have for local businesses in the innovation, research and development, and technology sectors," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "With our competitive suite of tools, we are showing companies around the world that Rhode Island is an innovation hub – complete with unique and ground-breaking universities and award-winning medical facilities. Congratulations to the six grant recipients, and thank you for your commitment to doing business in Rhode Island."
The IRISBF will distribute $261,463.17 in state grants among the six recipients to leverage $946,231.91 in federal funds from a competitive Phase I SBIR/STTR federal grant to develop technology that is of interest to a federal agency. Five of the companies have received awards from the Department of Defense (Navy and Army) and one has received an award from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease, National Institutes of Health.
"With top institutions and potent incentives, Rhode Island has the ingredients necessary for a world-class innovation hub," said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "These businesses are leading the charge in R&D and, in so doing, are generating economic activity. Congratulations to this year's grant recipients."
The grant recipients employ a total of 93 employees in scientific, managerial, technical, and administrative positions and are located in Barrington, Pawtucket, Providence, Cranston, and Woonsocket.
"In Rhode Island, small makes a big difference, and these six companies are perfect examples of that," said Rhode Island Commerce Corporation President Darin Early. "Our state has the capacity to be an innovation hub because of its size. Though spread across the state, these companies are neighbors, which creates the potential to be collaborators. They are also competing, successfully, with companies three, four, five times their size – demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit that is so strong in this state."
This is the third year the grants have been available through the IRISBF, which was created in 2013 to foster job creation, facilitate small business development and enhance the workforce pipeline. Through a variety of programming supported by the fund, eligible Rhode Island small businesses may apply for grants to defray the cost of applying for SBIR/STTR awards, match SBIR/STTR Phase I and Phase II awards, and hire interns. The goals of the program 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 • Enhance the talent pipeline in the life sciences and engineering fields
Since inception of the program in 2013, 21 companies received $908,286 in state grants to leverage over $3.5 million in federal SBIR/STTR Phase I awards.
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% of the federal award up to a maximum of $45,000.
The grants are disbursed in two phases. Seventy-five percent of the grant is disbursed upon successful application to the program. The remaining 25 percent is disbursed upon submission of a Phase II proposal.
Applications are sought on a quarterly basis. The next call for applications will be posted in January 2016 for companies that received SBIR/STTR Phase I awards in the fourth quarter of 2015.