This month, let’s spend some time talking about grants.
The first thing you should know is that while it is true that there are government grants available, there are not that many, they are very specific in what they are looking to fund and they are very competitive. Government grants come from both the federal government through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants and state grants.
The SBIR program is coordinated by the Small Business Administration and requires federal agencies to award research grants to small businesses.
The SBIR program has three main objectives:
1. To spur technological innovation in the small business sector.
2. To meet research and development needs of the federal government.
3. To commercialize federally funded investments.
Grants are awarded in three phases.
Phase I is the startup phase and is usually up to $150,000 to research the technical feasibility of an idea or technology. Phase II is up to $1 million dollars to expand Phase I results and evaluate the potential for commercialization. Phase III is when the innovation moves from research into the marketplace.
No funds are awarded for Phase III.
The STTR program is similar to SBIR and works to expand public/private partnerships between a small business and a research institution that has created technology. Federal agencies generally solicit applications for very specific technology they are looking for. Kentucky has several funding programs available to entrepreneurs and small business owners. These funds are available for innovative and high-tech ventures.
KY SBIR/STTR Phase Zero and Double Zero
The goals of the SBIR/STTR Phase Zero and Double Zero is to assist Kentucky-based new and existing small businesses and Kentucky college and university faculty with the preparation of high-quality, competitive Phase I and II proposals to submission to federal SBIR and STTR programs.
Kentucky SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program
The Matching Funds program provides matching funds up to $150,000 for Phase I and up to $500,000 for Phase II SBIR/STTR federal grant awards. Companies from Kentucky, and companies willing to move to Kentucky, can apply for and receive matching Funds Grant awards.
These funds are to be used for new and additional works that is complementary to existing Federal SBIR-STTR awards.
Kentucky Enterprise Fund
The Kentucky Enterprise Fund provides seed-stage capital to Kentucky-based companies that are commercializing a technology-based product or process.
There are two types of awards designed to stimulate private investment in Kentucky-based technology companies with high growth potential:
1. Kentucky Enterprise Fund awards involve grants of $30,000 and investments up to $750,000 in small and medium-sized Kentucky-based companies for business development activities.
2. Rural Innovation Fund awards involve grants of $30,000 and investments up to $100,000 in small, rural (outside of Fayette and Jefferson Counties), Kentucky-based companies working in partnership with a Kentucky postsecondary institution or unaffiliated third party.
Kentucky New Energy Ventures Fund
The Kentucky New Energy Ventures Fund provides seed stage capital to support the development and commercialization of alternative fuel and renewable energy products, processes and services in Kentucky.
The KNEV fund makes grants of $30,000 and investments ranging from $250,000 to over $750,000. Qualified companies must be Kentucky-based and funds are to be used for business development activities.
Kentucky High-Tech Funding
The Cabinet for Economic Development administers the High-Tech Investment Pools that are used to build and promote technology-driven industries and research-intensive industries with the goal of creating clusters of innovation-driven industries in Kentucky.
The commissioner of the Office of Innovation and Commercialization recommends to KEDFA, for approval, funds to be used to support loans and grants, or to secure equity or related positions.
The moral of the story is that there are state and federal funding opportunities available and some are grants.
All of the Kentucky funding programs require matching funds and have more detailed criteria that I was able to provide in this space.
If you would like more information, to see if you qualify or to apply for funding, go to the following websites and contact me for assistance: startupkentucky.com and thinkkentukcy.com.
Loretta Daniel is director of the Murray State University Regional Business and Innovation Center. She can be contacted at 270-809-6071 or email@example.com.