Seven Wisconsin small high-tech businesses each will receive a $75,000 grant to
commercialize their innovations—the first recipients of the SBIR Advance
program, a collaboration between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
(WEDC) and the UW-Extension Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC).
recipients include V-Glass, Milwaukee; Fiberstar Bio-Ingredient Technologies,
Eau Claire; Medical Cyberworlds, Verona; and four Madison companies: C-Motive,
Isthmus Bio, Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling, and Pan Genome Systems.
are among the Wisconsin companies already receiving federal Small Business
Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase 1
and Phase 2 grants. The U.S. government created those programs to stimulate
domestic high-tech innovation, providing approximately $2.5 billion of federal
research funding each year.
those federal funds are for technology development and can’t be used for
certain activities, including patent work and customer validation. To help fill
the commercialization gap, WEDC and CTC in August launched the SBIR Advance
program. WEDC is providing $1 million to fund the program, which is being
administered by CTC.
Director Bon Wikenheiser said, “SBIR Advance makes a real difference for
these companies, helping them to also focus on customer development and
validation, and preparing them to secure additional grant or investor
staff supports SBIR Advance grant recipients through Lean Startup training,
commercialization plan review, matching products with market needs, and other
Genome, for example, is working with CTC on international intellectual property
protection for a vaccine to prevent and control Johne’s disease, which affects
ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and camels.
“SBIR Advance will enable these seven businesses—and others like them in future
rounds of funding—to take the next important steps toward commercialization for
their innovations,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead
economic development agency. “This program fills an important gap for companies
that have received federal funding but still need assistance in areas such as
market research and patent development, areas that cannot be funded with
Advance is part of a new Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative WEDC is
pursuing with the help of the UW System and other business leaders throughout
the state to remove barriers to high-tech commercialization. Under the S3
umbrella WEDC and its economic development partners are implementing financial
and operational assistance programs designed specifically to address
Wisconsin’s business startup and seed-funding challenges. One such
initiative—also a collaborative effort between WEDC and the UW System—is a seed
fund called Ideadvance also managed by UW-Extension’s CTC.
Selected SBIR Advance participants have joined the Ideadvance cohort
in Lean Startup training.