Connecticut Innovations Launches SBIR Acceleration and Commercialization Program

State Is One of a Handful to Fund SBIR Winners

Connecticut Innovations (CI), the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for technology-based economic development, today announced that it has launched the Connecticut SBIR Acceleration and Commercialization Program. The program is supported with $1.8 million in funding from the State of Connecticut and $2.2 million from CI, for a combined fund total of $4 million.

The program will provide funding to Connecticut-based entrepreneurs and small businesses participating in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to help them address their needs as they grow emerging technology companies. Program funding may also be used to foster critically important partnerships between small businesses and universities, as well as other collaborators, through joint technology development efforts.

Catherine Smith, board chair of Connecticut Innovations and commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said, “The recent passage of bipartisan legislation to promote economic growth and job creation in Connecticut provides an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate job growth among small businesses. Only a handful of states offer their SBIR companies funding support. We are delighted to be one of them.”

There are two funding initiatives under the Connecticut SBIR Acceleration and Commercialization Program. They provide critical support for SBIR Phase I and Phase II winners as well as companies that have won significant non-SBIR federal funding.

The first, the SBIR Phase I Matching Grant initiative, is designed to help recent Connecticut SBIR Phase I winners advance their federal Phase I feasibility studies to million-dollar Phase II research awards. It encourages collaborations, especially with Connecticut universities.

These grants were created to help bridge the funding gap between Phase I and subsequent awards. CI may increase its matching grant if a company subcontracts with a Connecticut research university.

The second, the Commercialization Loans initiative, aims to remove roadblocks to revenue generation. This funding is not limited to SBIR winners. All Connecticut-based small firms that have received SBIR Phase II awards or other significant federal R&D funding (generally $500,000 or more) during calendar years 2011 or 2012 are eligible to apply. The loans, however, will require a 50 percent match, which may come from a variety of sources.

Deb Santy, director of the Connecticut SBIR Office, states, “Connecticut SBIR Acceleration and Commercialization Program funding will be available in the form of grants and loans and will encourage university-industry linkages. These new program funding initiatives support the state’s SBIR winners, other large federal grant winners, and companies new to SBIR. Because federal SBIR Phase I and II grants do not cover all necessary costs for technology companies, the state support will help bridge the gap. Our website is up and companies can apply today.”

Details of these acceleration opportunities can be found at: https://www.ctinnovations.com/sbirfunding.

Some of the program funding will be used to launch a new state technology platform, the CTiHUB, which has been in development for about a year to support the state’s technology stakeholders. “Using CTiHUB, tech companies, manufacturers, agencies, universities, incubators, service providers and others will be able to collaborate and do business in a virtual, online setting,” Santy stated. “The timing is perfect to develop the infrastructure for an innovation ecosystem that will generate a strong economic impact on Connecticut.”

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About Connecticut Innovations Inc.  Connecticut Innovations (CI) is a quasi-public organization dedicated to driving a vibrant, entrepreneurial, technology-based economy in Connecticut. CI stimulates high-tech growth by investing in early-stage Connecticut technology companies, university/industry research collaborations and technology transfer and collaborating with government, business, nonprofit and academic organizations to advance technology growth and promote public policies consistent with CI’s mission. For more information on CI, please visit www.ctinnovations.com.

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