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Nathan Buehler
Marketing Mgr
Email; 503-689-3559

February 25, 2015 Media Contact
Ryan Frank 971-804-2530

Business Oregon Creates $400,000 Fund for Small Business Innovation

Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, is starting a $400,000 grant program to help small businesses fund research and development of new, innovative products.

The fund will support Oregon small businesses that want to earn a share of the $2.5 billion awarded annually in highly competitive federal research grants. Oregon currently ranks in the middle tier among states in capturing federal innovation grants for small businesses.

"For sustainable economic growth in both urban and rural Oregon, we must continually look for ways to give small business and entrepreneurs a leg-up," said Governor Kate Brown. "Leveraging state grant funds to access federal funds fosters innovation that not only brings great ideas to life, it creates more opportunities to grow Oregon business statewide."

The federal grant programs—known as Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer, or SBIR/STTR—are designed to encourage small companies and research universities to pursue risky but rewarding research that helps bring new ideas to market and maintains the United States' position as the global leader in innovation. iRobot, Qualcomm and Symantec are examples of companies that grew out of the SBIR/STTR program.

"Innovation grows jobs," said Sean Robbins, Business Oregon's director. "We need to do more to nurture early-stage startups. We created this program to help Oregon small businesses earn a bigger share of federal research dollars to transform ideas on a white board into products sold around the globe."

At Business Oregon, our mission is to grow Oregon jobs, companies and communities. That work starts with helping entrepreneurs and existing Oregon businesses grow here at home. The SBIR/STTR fund is part of Business Oregon's strategy to support innovation and entrepreneurship.

Background
Access to capital is a key hurdle for early-stage small businesses, especially for companies in the R&D phase. The SBIR program, created in 1982, is designed to ensure small businesses have access to federal R&D grants. The programs provide funding in two grant phases.

Phase I: Funds research on a product's feasibility, typically up to $150,000
Phase II: Funds the development of a market-ready product, typically up to $1 million

Business Oregon's $400,000 grant program will provide $100,000 to expand an existing program that helps companies prepare SBIR/STTR grant applications. The remaining $300,000 will be for matching grants to companies that win the federal grants to help make their innovations more market ready.

About SBIR: Federal agencies that produce more than $100 million in external research annually must allocate 2.8% of their spending to SBIR. Currently, 11 federal agencies participate.

About STTR: Federal agencies that produce more than $1 billion in external research annually must allocate .3% to STTR. Five agencies participate.

For Entrepreneurs
To learn how to apply: Visit the Business Oregon Web site or contact our Innovation Strategist Mark Brady at 503-229-5223.

Oregon SBIR/STTR training: Oregon BEST will host a series of training sessions around Oregon. The first is today in Hood River. They will host five more sessions through March 13 in Corvallis, Newport, Beaverton, Eugene and Bend.