October 15 2021
Entrepreneurship,R&D

Capital Region Firms Netted $15.5M in SBIR & STTR Funds in 2020

Fifteen Capital Region small businesses received $15.5 million in federal seed funding grants for research and development in fiscal 2020. That included a record annual sum from the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to a Center for Economic Growth analysis of SBIR.gov data.

SBIR/STTR

The SBIR program helps stimulate small business innovation and commercialization for technologies that federal agencies can potentially use. In fiscal 2020, the eight-county region received $13,583,010 in SBIR and $1,877,246 in STTR grants. The $15,460,256 grand total was down 9 percent from the previous year but aligned with the $15,517,283, 10-year average. Under the STTR program, which focuses on leveraging university R&D assets to drive private innovation and commercialization, Simmetrix in Clifton Park partnered with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Vistex Composites in Schenectady partnered Union College, and Kitware in Clifton Park partnered with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University at Dayton Research Institute.

1st-Time SBIR Awardees

Most of the awardees had previously received SBIR and/or STTR funds. One exception was  Achillea Research in Schenectady, which received $187,883 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for R&D on rapidly attainable increases in transmission capacity using power. Another new awardee was Fastwatt in Clifton Park, which received a $242,800 Phase 1 DOE SBIR grant for R&D on a compact power converter with high waveform quality for direct-drive renewable energy generators.

NASA

Two Capital Region companies received Phase 1 SBIR grants from NASA, including Mohawk Innovative Technology in Colonie for R&D on a high-speed closed Brayton cycle turboalternator (SBIR, $124,789) and Vistex Composites in Schenectady for out of autoclave (OOA) process for manufacture of large thin gauge composites (STTR, $124,995). Kitware in Clifton Park received the most SBIR and STTR awards in fiscal 2020: 19 totaling $8,328,967. The $2.2 million the NSF awarded to four local firms in fiscal 2020 was the most the agency had annually awarded in the region.

Other Awards

Select Capital Region awardees and awards included:

Free Form Fibers, Saratoga Springs: $1.1 million DOE Phase 2 SBIR grant for R&D on ultra-thin, 3-D ceramic matrix composite cladding.

Primacomp, Niskayuna: $136,304 Navy SBIR grant for R&D on advanced video compression capability.

Senex Biotechnology, Albany: $1,130,935 National Institutes of Health Phase 2 SBIR grant for CDK8/19 inhibitors for therapy of advanced prostate cancer.

United Aircraft Technologies, Troy: $110,653 Army Phase 1 SBIR grant for R&D on Expeditionary Technology Search (xTechSearch) dual-use technologies applicable to Army modernization priority areas.

CEG Initiatives

As a regional technology center under the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, CEG’s Business Growth Solutions (BGS) unit offers a menu of support services for entrepreneurs. These include improving access to facilities, prototyping support with 3D printer services, and identifying potential investors, mentors, and resources. BGS also provides opportunities for startups to showcase business ideas through programs such as VentureB and the New York State High School Business Model Competition. CEG is supporting the formation and growth of local minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) and disadvantaged small businesses through KeyBank Business Boost & Build (KBBB). Chamber support services for entrepreneurs include, loan programsentrepreneur boot camps and an MWBE program.

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