Oregon to help startups score federal funding

Oregon is helping startups and small businesses across the state prepare to compete for Federal funding in support of research and development (R&D) activities.

Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, recently announced that they will provide a total of $400,000 in grants to help Oregon startups and small businesses prepare to go after federal funds offered through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a competitive program that offers over $2 billion in annual funding to domestic small businesses to engage in Research and Development (R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that offers Federal funding for research and development (R&D) through collaboration with university researchers.

In an interview with Portland Business Journal, Sean Robbins, director of Business Oregon, explained that the new grants are part of the state’s new strategy of “growing our own.”

“From my perspective and the state’s perspective, when you have limited dollars to invest you have to seek a high rate of return. Innovation-based jobs produce a higher number of spin-off jobs,” Robbins said in the interview. “For every one high-tech job you support it supports five other jobs.”

The new program will provide $100,000 to help businesses prepare their applications and sets aside an additional $300,000 in matching funds to supplement the Federal funding, which is generally more restrictive in how in may be spent. The program is expected to support 4-6 companies this year. To learn more, visit the Business Oregon website.

In addition to the state grants, Oregon BEST and Business Oregon have organized a series of free workshops across the state to help entrepreneurs write competitive grant applications.

The series will arrive in Eugene on Thursday, March 12 at Fertilab Thinkubator, a local startup incubator and co-working space. Participants can also schedule a free one-on-one consultation if they would like additional assistance. Although the event is free, participants must register by visiting the event website.

If you still have questions, you can finish up with an additional workshop at Fertilab Thinkubator on Wednesday, March 18 at 5:30 p.m. with Dr. Charles H. Jones. During his career, Dr. Jones spent 15 years working with the Federal SBIR program where he evaluated proposals, managed contracts, and provided technical oversight. He will provide insight into putting together a strong and application and advice to help you avoid common weaknesses.

For information, visit the event page on Fertilab Thinkubator’s website.