The Utah Industry and Innovation Center recently hosted the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Road Tour for the western states, the SBIR Tour in the Rockies. Originally planned as a regional bus tour with a full day in Utah, the event quickly pivoted to a virtual event. The Road Tour brings federal staff to small technology businesses regionally, providing a unique opportunity to directly learn about companies, their innovations and technology. The event also provides information and guidance on how companies can benefit from the country’s largest source of early stage funding – the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. 

“We were honored to host the SBIR Tour in the Rockies in Utah,” said Mary Cardon, director of the Utah Industry and Innovation Center.  “The move to a virtual event due to the pandemic created more flexibility, allowing more meetings with federal program managers. Utah’s entrepreneurs were able to present their innovative technologies and gain insights and guidance on important next steps with multiple agencies. That is gold in the SBIR/STTR world.”

Over 200 participants took advantage of the SBIR Tour in the Rockies with over 70 meeting directly with SBIR/STTR program managers and Utah staff. 

Daryl Thompson, Business Development Manager at HyPerComp Engineering, located in Brigham City, Utah, took advantage of the event, meeting with representatives from NASA, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of Energy.  His company has been successful winning non-dilutive funding through the SBIR/STTR programs, and saw this as a way to build relationships across different agencies.  HyPerComp is a leader in breakthrough technologies creating lighter, stronger and safer pressure vessels and structures.  

“This was a great opportunity to receive updates and connect with federal SBIR/STTR program officials. Our company has been awarded several grants and contracts through these programs. We have worked with the team at the Utah Industry and Innovation Center and value their support and guidance,” Thompson said.

St. George company, MotionPort, has won multiple SBIR/STTR awards. The company, which was recently acquired by EngineSoft USA, gained valuable information from meetings with the SBIR program officials.   

“Our merged company has an expanded set of capabilities,” said Brant Ross, Chief Solutions Officer. “The SBIR week was an extraordinary opportunity to tell our expanded story and receive feedback on the interest of the three agencies that I talked to. The response was positive and their feedback was useful.”

The Utah Industry and Innovation Center, part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, assists eligible Utah companies to apply for and win non-dilutive funding to further the development of their innovative technology.  The Center team held one-on-one meetings with Utah companies prior to their meetings with federal program managers to mentor them on their presentations and answer questions regarding the SBIR program.  

The Center has a success rate nearly twice the national average, and has assisted Utah companies win more than $43M to support the research and development of their technologies. The Center regularly holds seminars and workshops, offers a suite of templates and samples and provides direct assistance to help Utah companies navigate the SBIR/STTR process. 

The SBIR/STTR programs focus on next generation research & development (R&D), and are under the direction of the SBA with 11 participating federal agencies. The programs provide $3.7 billion in early stage non-dilutive funding to small businesses in a wide variety of technology areas such as unmanned systems, advanced materials, health, cybersecurity and defense.  The programs execute over 5,000 new awards annually allowing innovators to advance new technologies and have contributed to the creation of thousands of jobs.

For more information about SBIR/STTR programs and the support Utah small businesses can receive, please visit https://business.utah.gov/sbir-services/.