Thursday, February 12, 2009

Small Business/University Tech-Transfer Matchmaking - Just in time for Valentine's Day!

This idea could produce a match made in heaven -- well at least in Tech-Transfer heaven! Small technology businesses who are looking to win Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants now have a way to solve a heretofore tough problem -- how to find universities or other research institutions with the appropriate capabilities to partner with.

Thanks to some innovative thinking from Rick Shindell, publisher of The SBIR Gateway, there's now a way for both research institutions and small businesses to register their capabilities and STTR topic interest in a Gateway database, and then use the Gateway's search engine to find that elusive partner.

Starting February 12th, appropriately evolving on Darwin Day, small businesses in search of a DOD STTR research partner are able to query the database and see which research organizations may be interested in partnering on selected topics. It also works the other way - small business can register their interests and research institutions can find them via this matchmaking service.

In announcing this new Gateway service, Rick said:

"Most of us have had some negative consequences due to the economy and/or the investment community. Many universities and colleges have incurred major losses to their endowment funds, and that includes their Science & Technology sector. Entities that previously thought STTR was too small to bother with are now interested in becoming involved.

I've talked with many small and medium sized universities that have said it is hard to find interested and qualified small businesses for partnering in STTR. I also hear from small businesses that they have a hard time finding an interested university or federally funded R&D center (including DOD and DOE National Laboratories) in an STTR project.

As with all of our SBIR Gateway projects, this service is free and is offered in the hope that it will stimulate interest in the STTR program, promote strong partnerships, create and/or preserve jobs, and be of benefit to the sponsoring agency and their mission."

Rick told me that the response he's gotten to this has been exceptionally strong. He's hopeful that this experiment will prove to be a winner. My bet is that we'll see an upsurge in STTR proposals as a result of this initiative. I know for a fact that several of my clients abandoned plans to submit STTR proposals in the past because they just could not find the right university research partner.

See the STTR Matchmaking facility on the SBIR Gateway at: STTR PARTNERING. Proposals in the current DOD STTR round are due March 25th. There's still time to talk to TPOCs, so don't delay in finding that perfect partner!

SBIR Reauthorization Update

The SBIR Coach got back from Washington DC after the Reauthorization Fly-In earlier this week energized to do what it takes to ensure continuance of the SBIR opportunity as the best small business stimulus that this nation has ever implemented. We talked to many House and Senate staffers to carry forth the primary message: PLEASE DON'T LET THE SBIR PROGRAM DIE ON MARCH 20TH.

Thanks to hard work by Jere Glover of the SBTC and Alec Orban of NSBA, we were organized and armed with compelling data, and everyone I talked to seemed to get the message. In a nutshell, it doesn't appear possible that the House and Senate will be able to reach agreement on the issues in the few weeks between now and March 20th, so another Continuing Resolution must be passed to further extend the SBIR expiration deadline and allow us to continue the debate.

This weekend I will compose my letter that I will be sending to our legislators and will post it on my website. You will be able to copy and paste it onto your own letterhead for editing and sending. I'll be sending a FLASH Newsletter to my clients when it's ready. If you'd like to be included in that notice, please subscribe to my Newsletter. We need to alert as many legislators as possible as soon as they return from the Presidents' Day congressional recess.

UPDATE: 2/15/09. The Legislator Letter is posted on my website, and the FLASH Newsletter has been emailed to my clients. Click the links to see them. Please send some letters!

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