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Nathan Buehler
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Email; 503-689-3559

April 17, 2015 Media Contact
Ryan Frank 971-804-2530

Five Oregon Companies Earn $300,000 in Small Business Innovation Grants

Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, today announced an investment of more than $300,000 to help Oregon small businesses create the technologies and products that help cities build safer energy grids, doctors improve malaria treatment and farmers use fertilizer more efficiently.

The state program is providing grants to five Oregon small businesses to help get their business ideas closer to market.

The fund is designed to support companies that already earned federal research funding through what's known as America's largest seed fund.

The federal fund is known as SBIR/STTR, or Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer. The grants, administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, are designed to encourage small companies and 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.

Since 2008, Oregon companies have earned $254 million in SBIR and STTR grants.

In her prepared remarks for today's State of the State address, Governor Kate Brown said, "Business Oregon's 'Grow Our Own' approach calls on us to invest in Oregon-based industries and businesses, to work to retain them and help them grow and expand. We also need to be innovative in fostering start-ups and attracting new companies to Oregon. Building a thriving economy requires this holistic approach that expands opportunities for Oregonians."

Sean Robbins, Business Oregon's director, said, "For us to build real momentum in the Oregon economy, we need to nurture entrepreneurs and start-ups that will be the Columbia Sportswears, Intels and Nikes of the next generation."

The five Oregon small businesses that received $301,146 in state grants, along with their product or technology, are:
DesignMedix: Drug to improve malaria treatment, $75,000
Energy Storage Systems: Safe, environmentally friendly grid storage battery system, $75,000
SupraSensor: Wireless nitrate testing device so farmers can use fertilizer more efficiently, $61,875
NemaMetrix: Improved drug screen for cheaper, faster testing, $49,100
HM3 Energy: Convert forest waste into biofuel briquettes to replace coal, $40,171

In developing their products, these companies have also received mentoring or investments from Oregon's signature research centers: Oregon Nanoscience & Microtechnologies Institute, Oregon BEST and the Oregon Translational & Drug Discovery Institute.

Business Oregon works 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.

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.