For years, West Virginia’s small technology businesses have competed for the big league of federal grants: The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). The SBIR/STTR is the nation’s largest source of early stage research and development funding for small businesses.
But over time, fewer applications were submitted by West Virginia-based small businesses in comparison to other states. As a result, West Virginia won fewer awards.
New tactics to improve performance
In 2019, the West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WV SBDC) began to change that with two programs:
• Innovation-Technology Program (In-Tech). This re-launched program focuses on tech-centric enterprises where technology is a catalyst for growth. In-Tech assists as needed, from basic business modeling, prototype development assistance, product evaluation, and business planning to SBIR/STTR application assistance.
• The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Investment Fund. This initiative offers an opportunity for West Virginia-based businesses that receive SBIR/STTR Phase I and Phase II awards to apply for state matching funds to supplement that award.