The North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation announced today that 101 North Carolina small businesses have received 117 grants to advance the commercialization of innovative new technologies. The One North Carolina Small Business Program awarded a total of $4.95 million to innovative companies in 22 counties across the state.
“Support for early-stage technology companies pays off in better jobs, more investment, and new ways to make our state a great place to live and do business,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “These small businesses are tackling society’s most pressing challenges in many areas, including the life sciences, defense, and clean energy. Innovative small companies drive growth and competition, keeping our economy healthy and quality of life high.”
The One North Carolina Small Business Program, established in 2005, provides state grants to companies that are pursuing or have won federal awards through two highly competitive federal programs, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These federal programs, referred to as America’s Seed Fund,™ support small businesses that are developing technologies with a high potential for commercialization. The SBIR and STTR programs are the single largest source of early-stage technology development and commercialization funding for small businesses—more than $3.7 billion annually nationwide.
“Innovation drives our economy forward, and small businesses are the very best incubators of innovation,” said North Carolina Commence Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “The One North Carolina Small Business Program has supported the state’s small technology businesses for many years and I’m proud we’ve been able to extend the program’s reach and boost the number of small companies engaged with the program.”
Two types of state grants were awarded during the new funding round, Incentive grants and Matching grants.
Incentive grants support qualified North Carolina businesses as they prepare and submit SBIR or STTR proposals to federal agencies, helping offset some of the costs of developing these complex proposals. The Incentive program aims to increase the number and quality of proposals submitted for the federal grants, and to encourage broader geographic diversity among the North Carolina businesses that apply.
Matching grants award funds to North Carolina small businesses who have already received a federal Phase I SBIR or STTR award, with the goal of filling gaps left by the federal funding, attracting follow-on investments, and encouraging the businesses to grow their presence in North Carolina. The state matching funds leveraged more than $16 million in federal funds during this round.
This year represents the most geographically diverse cohort in the history of the One North Carolina Small Business Program, with companies in 22 counties—from Brunswick to Yadkin—receiving awards. The variety of projects funded was also the most diverse in the program’s history, with grantees receiving funding from 10 different federal agencies (out of 11 agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR programs). Additionally, the number of first-time applicants receiving awards was the highest since the One North Carolina Small Business Program was established.
The One North Carolina Small Business Program is administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce on behalf of the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation.
“Recognizing the continued importance of fostering innovation statewide, this year the Board took deliberate action to create a larger and geographically diverse cohort,” said Rick Webb, Chair of the Board’s Outreach & Funding Committee. “The Board’s actions are bearing fruit in more cities and counties. Demand for this program is strong and growing, and with increased funding, we can help North Carolina companies stay competitive as other states start to offer similar support for their small businesses.”
Since 2006, the One North Carolina Small Business Program has helped just over 400 companies across the state develop and bring to market hundreds of high-tech products. North Carolina is among a handful of innovative states that have chosen to bolster their economy this way. The Program’s grants support small businesses at a critical stage of their growth, shortening the time needed from technology development to the point where they become large, successful businesses. Many recipients have said the grants were the vital injection of capital they needed to put their companies on a successful trajectory.
The Program has been responsible for helping to create 1,000 North Carolina jobs, the development and commercialization of hundreds of high-tech products, and the generation of more than $2 billion in follow-on capital investments.
For additional information about the program, see commerce.nc.gov/grants-incentives/technology-funds/one-north-carolina-small-business-program.