As we prepare to celebrate May Day tomorrow, Maine is still in the earliest stages of spring. The last vestiges of snow have finally melted off my lawn, colorful crocuses are beginning to emerge from the soil and some of the trees in my yard are starting to sprout buds. All great news. It appears winter is finally in the rearview mirror. And, while spring’s mud season and black fly season still have many weeks remaining, it’s not too early to begin thinking about an upcoming summer event that is being presented by the Small Business Administration and MTI. It will undoubtedly be of interest to you. It’s the National SBIR Road Tour and Summer Session on August 24th in Portland.
Why should you care about it? Well, each year, the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program offers $2.5 Billion in grants from 11 federal agencies for early-stage, high risk, technology-oriented research and development leading to the commercialization of new products and services. Maine companies have traditionally competed well for these funds and MTI stands ready to assist any Maine entrepreneur or small business interested in pursuing them.
The Maine Technology Institute provides free technical assistance to Maine small businesses to help them develop competitive SBIR/STTR proposals. MTI’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is an ongoing program that provides 10-20 hours of support to applicants submitting proposals. The TAP team consists of experienced consultants who provide the following assistance:
- Introduction to the SBIR/STTR program
- Proposal strategy and planning meetings
- Government accounting assistance in preparing overhead rates and budgets
- Agency specific workshops
- Critical technical editing and reviews of proposals
Helping Maine small businesses secure critically-needed research and development funding from the federal government to help drive and grow innovation in our state is a core competency of MTI. The federal grant process is a tremendously complicated one so MTI is pleased to offer no-cost assistance and funding to help Maine applicants put their best foot forward.
In addition to its Technical Assistance Program (TAP), MTI also offers funding through its Phase 0 Program. The Phase 0 Program provides up to $5,000 in funding to help Maine small businesses cover the direct costs associated with engaging external contractors to prepare an SBIR/STTR proposal and retain market research & consultant services. Applicants are required to match MTI funding on a 1:1 basis.
Recently, MTI announced that six Maine companies it had assisted through its TAP program had received nearly $7 million in SBIR/STTR awards. Those companies included Alba-Technic, LLC of Winthrop (Awarded $224,682 from the National Institutes of Health), Compotech, Inc. of Brewer (Awarded $4,402,628 from the Department of Defense – Army), Eldertide, LLC of Dresden (Awarded $99,994 from the Department of Defense – Army), Home Care Business Services, Inc. of Falmouth (Awarded $225,000 from the National Science Foundation), Introspective Systems, LLC of Portland (Awarded $956,277 from the Department of Energy), and The Montalvo Corporation of Gorham (Awarded $750,000 from the National Science Foundation).
I encourage you to mark August 24th on your calendar now. The National SBIR Road Tour and Summer Session will take place from 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Clarion Hotel, 1230 Congress Street in Portland. Representatives from all 11 participating federal agencies, as well as experts and trainers in the field will be present to help companies navigate funding opportunities and learn more about the program.
Please plan to attend to make sure your company is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity. There are 2.5 billion reasons why you should.