SBA Awards UNHInnovation Second Round of Funding to Help Underserved Small Businesses Succeed in R&D


Monday, August 23, 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration issued a second round of grant funding to UNHInnovation, to provide specialized training, mentoring and technical assistance for research and development-focused small businesses under the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.  FAST seeks to improve outcomes in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs for underserved communities by increasing participation from women-owned, rural-based and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses. UNHInnovation is one of 33 grant awardees nationwide. The FAST Partnership Program makes awards for a base period of 12 months, plus two optional continuation periods of 12 months, if eligible.

UNHInnovation leveraged the first round of FAST funding to launch a program called FOSTER (Focused SBIR/STTR Teaching, Equity and Results) to provide education, training and grant proposal support to New Hampshire small businesses. Over the past year, the FOSTER program has provided SBIR/STTR training to approximately 45 New Hampshire companies, with 20% of those companies representing underserved communities. Seven New Hampshire businesses have been awarded microgrants for additional proposal development assistance, and UNHInnovation is excited to announce that one of the microgrant awardees recently received a Phase 1 SBIR grant.

The FOSTER program’s success is due in large part to its collaborative approach. Its Ambassador Network, which is made up of partner organizations around New Hampshire, has enabled the program to engage the entire state to help identify and support potential participants, particularly those that are women-owned, rural-based and socially- economically disadvantaged.

“We are very excited to receive this second round of funding so we can continue the momentum created in year one,” said Marc Eichenberger, FOSTER project director and interim director of UNHInnovation. “With this award, we can continue to provide New Hampshire companies with training workshops and speaker series led by industry experts and add additional resources like startup bootcamps. We also plan to increase direct support for companies by expanding our microgrant program.”

“SBIR and STTR grants are great resources for the small business community and the state’s economy,” said Eichenberger. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to help New Hampshire companies pursue these non- dilutive grant funds so they can innovate, thrive and develop good, high paying STEM jobs throughout the state.”

Anyone interested in learning more can check out http://innovation.unh.edu/FOSTER to learn about the program and upcoming events.

About FAST

In FY 2021, $4 million total was appropriated as grants for entities to carry out targeted activities from September 30, 2021, through September 29, 2022. Entities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to receive funding to provide outreach, technical, and financial assistance in support of the SBIR/STTR programs. Additional information can be found at www.sbir.gov/about-fast.

About SBIR/STTR

SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund. In FY 2021, eleven participating federal agencies will provide more than $4 billion in early-stage seed capital through over 7,000 awards to small businesses. Federal agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S. Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at www.sbir.gov.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.