presented by UTRF, Three Roots Capital, and the Andersen Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Click here to register for SBIR Session.

Location: Room 440, West Wing, Haslam College of Business

Have you ever thought about commercializing your research?

The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) supports researchers by protecting the intellectual property of promising technologies and making them available for corporation and startups to license. One avenue available to researchers is to participate in an entrepreneurial startup that develops the technology into products and services that benefit society. But where does the money come from to do this development?

Did you know the Federal Government supports technology commercialization?

Federal research agencies like NSF, DoD, DOE and NIH together set aside over $2.5 billion annually for Small Business Innovation Research grants (SBIR’s). SBIR’s are available to small businesses to prove feasibility, develop prototypes and commercialize technologies. The program is a peer reviewed, competitive grant program that can provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to a startup to help prepare the technology for market entry. In addition, most agencies provide programs for grantees to develop their business models in parallel with their development to ensure they are ready to compete in their chosen marketplace. Some startups have raised several million dollars through the SBIR program.

Come learn about how you can participate in the SBIR Grant Program.

This program will provide a brief overview of the SBIR program, some incentives provided by the State of Tennessee and best of all, you will hear from a panel of 3 local SBIR veterans, who together have raised several million dollars of R&D funding for their companies.

The informational session will cover:

  • Where to find information about the SBIR Program
  • Strategies for successfully competing, and winning SBIR funding awards
  • Connections to successful award winners
  • The good, the bad and the ugly of SBIR’s as a funding strategy

Featured presenters:

Steven Ripp, Ph.D. UTK Institute of Biomedical Engineering Research Associate Professor – Center for Environmental Biotechnology

Lee Martin, Ph.D. UTK Industrial & Systems Engineering Professor of Practice, Engineering Entrepreneurship Director

Christopher Rey, Ph.D.President and Founder of Tai-Yang Research Company


Entrepreneurs to share “SBIR success secrets” at April 4 event in Knoxville

Teknovation Biz article by Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

The goal of an April 4 workshop for entrepreneurs and researchers is to share some of the secrets that have allowed several Knoxville area executives to successfully secure federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR).

“It is time to ramp-up the conversation about this funding opportunity,” Shawn Carson says. The long-time player in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem now has roles with the three sponsoring organizations – the University of Tennessee’s Research Foundation (UTRF) and Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation as well as Three Roots Capital.

The 90-minute workshop, targeted at the UT community but open to anyone, will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. April 4 in Room 440 of the West Wing of the Haslam College of Business on the campus. Pre-registration is requested since space is limited. Here’s the link to do so.

Confirmed presenters include Steve Ripp of 490 BioTech, a local company that has won several SBIR awards including the very competitive Phase II award, and Lee Martin, Knoxville serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is ImmersaCAD.

“In 2016, www.sbir.gov reported there were 3,337 total SBIR Awards, of which Tennessee won just 25,” Carson notes. “Last year, Tennessee ranked 28th among all states for SBIR awards for a total of just under $12 million. According to www.sbirsource.com , among 11 southeast states, Tennessee ranks seventh.”

As you might imagine, Virginia led the region with 304 awards, twice as many as number two Florida. The next two states in the rankings were North Carolina (132) and Alabama (112).

“In a state with two R-1 and one R-2 research universities and a National Laboratory, it is my belief we are leaving over a hundred million dollars of research and development funding on the table, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be in the top four or five states in the southeast,” Carson said. “While the SBIR process can be arduous, there are local companies who have been able to earn multiple SBIR awards totaling several million dollars in just the last few years.

A number of states in the region have state-funded programs that match the federal SBIR funding, either dollar-for-dollar or at a lesser amount. The Tennessee General Assembly authorized such a program in 2016, and both Launch Tennessee and Life Science Tennessee have been working to securing funding.

For more information, review the one-page flyer (April 4 SBIR Workshop).