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Oregon Entrepreneurs! Here’s Some Cash To Earn More Federal Cash

New state funding helps small companies apply for big federal grants and pays them if and when they make the cut.

Oregon Entrepreneurs! Here’s Some Cash To Earn More Federal Cash
[Photo: Flickr user khrawlings]

There is federal money available for entrepreneurs interested in R&D, but it can be hard to survive while applying for federal grants–and even after winning. That’s where Oregon’s new state initiative comes along. The state is set to pay $400,000 in small grants to help companies who are applying for the large federal program covering the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) grants.

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SBIR/SBTT provides incubator money to American companies with fewer than 500 employees. The program splits its grant money between a $150,000 exploratory phase I to examine the merit of a company’s product, and then chooses among the phase I winners to give up to $1 million for the grant’s phase II. There’s only so much federal money in the works for SBIR/SBTT, so Oregon competes with the other 49 states (plus territories) for the $2.5 billion in federal grants. Oregon comes up a respectable 18th in funding, according to The Oregonian.

Business Oregon, the official business-supporting arm of the state, will split $100,000 of its state grant to help as many as 20 companies apply for the SBIR/SBTT money, including pre-application expenses like professional editing, legal consultation, and market research. The remaining $300,000 will match federal grants for up to a half-dozen companies that win phase I or II SBIR/SBTT money. Both stages of this state funding is designed to pick up the business costs that companies can’t pay for with federal money.

States with larger economies, like California and Texas, take home a higher volume of grants than smaller states, but particular states have pushed hard to cultivate support programs like Oregon’s to ramp up the SBIR/SBTT grants they receive. The champion state? Massachusetts, by a ridiculous margin, earning 2,384 grants in 2012, compared to 632 grants in the same year by California. Massachusetts has beat out other states to SBIR/SBTT funding by such a margin since 2000.

This is incentive to grow business within the state, plain and simple. But if Oregon wants to rise up and compete, it’ll need to build the robust funding network that states like Massachusetts have, with public and private programs that assist during and after the SBIR/SBTT funding phase to make sure these companies get their product to market. Interested?

Live in Oregon? Apply on the Business Oregon site here.

[via The Oregonian]

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