As I travel the Inland Empire region of Southern California (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties) meeting with and mentoring entrepreneurs, I often have to give the unwelcome feedback to founders that they are too early for the professional angel investment or seed venture capital funding that they seek. This is especially true in regions like ours where we have not built (yet) a strong network of local angel investors who write checks to help our startups grow to the point where they have enough traction to credibly pitch to professional angels and VCs.
Because of this challenge, our team at University of California Riverside’s EPIC SBDC (Small Business Development Center) created an SBIR/STTR Resource Center in January of 2018. In just one year, our mentors have helped entrepreneurs secure over $1.6 million in non-dilutive funding to help commercialize their ideas, products and services. This creates a “bridge” to help get professional angel investors and seed venture capital funds more interested in investing in the startups in our region.
If you are an entrepreneur, faculty member, grad student, business executive, inventor or scientist, I highly recommend that you attend the day long SBIR/STTR CON | 19 conference on March 12th at the University of California, Riverside. If you have any questions, as always, please get in touch with me.
Federal SBIR/STTR programs provide $2.5 Billion in capital funding every year to help small business entrepreneurs bring transformative innovations to market. Join program officers from five federal agencies for this incredible conference to learn how to obtain early stage funding to commercialize your idea. Make an appointment to meet with agency program directors. Discuss your potential proposals with the Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. Meet with former grant winners, founders, and business experts/mentors. Discuss your ideas with public representatives. Sign up for special workshops on topics vital for funding success.
What is…SBIR: Small Business Innovation Research STTR: Small Business Technology Transfer – competitive awards-based resources that enable small businesses to develop new tech and facilitate commercialization.
• Example funding areas: AI, first responders, national security, biomed, cybersecurity, advanced robotics, agtech, space exploration + more.
• $2.5 billion of funding is available each year in competitive grant and contract awards. Since 1982, more than $478B has been awarded to American small businesses.
• 5,000 awards each year.
• Government does not take an equity stake and IP is retained by the small business.
• SBIR played a role in innovation giants like Qualcomm, iRobot, Symantec and many others.