SUNY innovation on display at SBIR Road Tour
Courtesy University at Albany
The University at Albany’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted the SBIR Road Tour -- a day-long event that brought together hundreds of entrepreneurs and researchers interested in securing federal grants for technology ideas and ventures.
Representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the government agency responsible for administered state-wide SBDC programs, provided the over 250 attendees with feedback and guidance through one-on-one meetings and a series of workshops.
The event took place on Sept. 17 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
The SBIR Road Tour, a national outreach effort by SBA, is designed to help connect entrepreneurs working on advanced technologies to sources of early stage funding through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
This year’s event marked the first time that the tour had stopped in the Capital Region for its 16-city route across the United States, according to Bill Brigham, director of the SBDC.
“Researchers developing highly-advanced technologies often struggle to receive funding through traditional mechanisms and investments, but the SBIR and STTR programs help bridge the gap between the laboratory and being commercialization-ready,” said Brigham, who said Albany served as one of just four stops in the northeast for the annual tour.
SBIR and STTR programs, also known as “America’s Seed Fund,” provide over $3 billion in funding to small businesses each year, according to Kate Baker, a certified business advisor with the SBDC and one of the lead organizers for the tour.
“Pursuing federal grants can be an overwhelming process for a faculty member or entrepreneur to tackle alone, which is why events like the SBIR Road Tour as so crucial to helping educate and support those whose technology has real potential for commercial success,” Baker said.
She said the SBDC offers SBIR grant development assistance with workshops and other mentorship opportunities throughout the year, including help with proposal writing.
In partnership with the Research Foundation for SUNY, the SBIR Road Tour event hosts from the University also included Innovate 518, the Capital Region’s Innovation Hot Spot and a NYSTAR funded program managed by UAlbany; the UAlbany Innovation Center; and SUNY Startup Summer School.
The UAlbany Innovation Center helps grow technology ventures and seeks to harness the intellectual capital of four research clusters at UAlbany, including: climate and environmental science research, biomedical science and biotechnology, forensic sciences and cybersecurity, and advanced data analytics.
As part of the event, 10 startup companies affiliated with a SUNY campus business incubator or accelerator program participated in SUNY’s first Technology Accelerator Fund Most Valuable Pitch (TAF MVP) competition.
SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson awarded Re-Nuble, a startup focusing on agricultural fertilizer manufacturing, $50,000 in seed funding. The company is a client of the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program at Stony Brook University.
Chemistry professor Igor Lednev pitched SupreMEtric, a new startup whose technology he helped develop at the University at Albany over the course of 12 years.
The company will provide law enforcement agencies with the first “universal method” for the identification of body fluid traces for forensic purposes, according to Lednev.
“The generous support from the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund has allowed us to make the first step towards commercialization,” Lednev said. “Our company is in an excellent position to receive SBIR funding, as evident from my one-on-one meetings with four program managers during the SBIR Road Tour.”
He said his lab at UAlbany has received continuous funding from the National Institute of Justice for technology development.
The SBDC, an affiliate of the School of Business, provides small business owners and entrepreneurs in 11 New York counties with pro bono, confidential business counseling, training and business research.
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