Applications are now being accepted for a new round of grantmaking from the One North Carolina Small Business Program, a key source of capital for North Carolina’s emerging technology companies.
“The One North Carolina Small Business Program provides critical support to some of our state’s most promising new companies,” said North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders. “Recent enhancements to the program open the door for even more tech entrepreneurs to grow their companies in North Carolina.”
The One NC Small Business Program works in conjunction with two federal technology grants, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Following recent changes, the state program can support North Carolina companies as they prepare and submit initial proposals to the federal government, as well as provide grants to match previously awarded federal grants.
The One North Carolina Small Business Program’s Incentive Funds and Matching Funds initiatives are administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce on behalf of the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation (BSTI). Grant awards help small businesses in the state develop and commercialize innovative new technologies, in the process growing jobs and investment in their communities.
The Incentive Funds initiative provides reimbursement to qualified North Carolina businesses for a portion of the costs incurred in preparing and submitting Phase I SBIR or STTR proposals to federal agencies. In the 2023-24 fiscal year, a pool of $400,000 is available for these preparation grants.
The Matching Funds portion of the program, which has been offered for many years, awards matching funds to North Carolina businesses who have already received a federal Phase I SBIR or STTR award. In the current fiscal year, a pool of more than $2.4 million is available to support this class of grants.
“The One North Carolina Small Business Program has a long, established history of advancing innovation in the state,” said Janet Cowell, Chair of the Board. “The Board is activating both the Incentive and Matching grants to help fund new technologies, create jobs, and enhance economic development across a variety of industry sectors, including life sciences, military and defense, chemicals, agriculture, computers, communications, pharmaceuticals, energy, materials, and others.”
Federal SBIR and STTR grants are the single largest source of early-stage technology development and commercialization funding for small businesses—more than $3.8 billion annually nationwide. North Carolina is among a handful of forward-thinking states with incentive and matching grant programs that leverage federal technology funding to help homegrown businesses commercialize innovative technologies and create jobs.
The One North Carolina Small Business Program supports early-stage companies at a critical point, shortening the time between their startup and the point where they become large, sustainable companies. Many past recipients say the vital injection of capital from the state put their companies on a successful trajectory. Since 2006, the Program has helped more than 400 companies in 38 counties, resulting in over twelve hundred North Carolina jobs, hundreds of high-tech products, and the generation of more than $8 billion in follow-on capital investments.
Applications to the One North Carolina Small Business Program can be accepted until June 30, 2024, or until funds have been exhausted for the program’s 2023-24 fiscal year funding cycle.
The Office of Science, Technology, & Innovation, a division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, administers the One North Carolina Small Business Program on behalf of the Board.
Details on how to apply for either the Incentive or Matching grant solicitations, as well as additional program information and application instructions, are posted at: commerce.nc.gov/grants-incentives/technology-funds/one-north-carolina-small-business-program.