16: locations across the US that hosted the SBIR Roadshow

100: Number of people who attended the September 19 road tour stop at University Park

150: number of meetings that took place between the attendees and 19 federal program managers from 11 participating federal agencies at the University Park stop of the SBIR Road Tour.

$111 million: amount that Centre County applicants have been granted within the past 10 years

3rd place: Rank that Centre County holds within the state for national funding (it’s on the rise to become second!)

$2 billion: total amount of funding SBIR/STTR funding has provided within Pennsylvania, more than 6,400 awards.

During the SBA Road Tour, attendees learned more about local and statewide resources, including:

· Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

· Penn State LaunchBox Legal Clinics

· Penn State Office of Technology Management

· Ben Franklin Technology Partners

· University Startup Support from the Office of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization

· Innovation Partnership (IPart), a statewide consortium of economic development and business assistance organizations located throughout Pennsylvania that helps improve success rates. Penn State SBDC, the Office of Senior Vice President of Research, and Central and Northern PA Ben Franklin Technologies Partners all members.

More than 100 innovators, entrepreneurs and researchers attended the event at University Park. Many were local, and others came from across Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Maryland.

Presentation topics included flexible funding opportunities, US patents and trademarks and opportunities with Department of Defense and NASA. A Q&A panel featuring SBIR/STTR awardees shared practical advice and information about valuable local support resources.

The stop also offered a coveted opportunity to meet directly with Federal Program Managers who seed a wide spectrum of innovative ideas. A total of 150 meetings took place between the attendees and 19 federal program managers from 11 participating federal agencies.

John Peterson, Interim Director of Penn State SBDC, says that Penn State was honored to be one of only sixteen locations throughout the nation. “The event was a fusion of federal and local resources,” he says. “There was great networking and face-to-face interactions with key players on the federal level of funding as well as learning about community and Penn State University resources.”

Dr. Kamrun Nahar, CEO of Impulse Technology in Innovation Park attended the road tour stop. Her company specializes in the design, modeling and fabrication of mechanical systems. One of their projects currently in development is a below-knee prosthetic that mimics natural movement. Impulse Technology started exploring SBIR/STTR opportunities as soon as the company was incorporated in 2013. Since then, they’ve applied for seven SBIR/STTR grants/contracts (five Phase I and two Phase II). To date, they have received two Phase I grants/contracts, one Phase II contract and have one proposal pending.

“It was a refresher course for me, which is always a good thing,” Dr. Nahar says. “I also learned detailed information on Penn State Law and IP clinics and now we are actively taking their services. I believe getting updated information from SBIR/STTR program officers in different federal agencies is always helpful in improving the proposals and thereby, success rates.”

John Peterson says that benefits of the event extended to the Penn State SBDC and other Penn State departments who received feedback from the stop and are now taking action reviewing and developing future workshops for SBIR/STTR funding.

“One of the biggest takeaways was that we heard from attendees that they want to improve their skills and knowledge completing the application correctly, understanding application deadlines, creating commercialization plans, improving technical writing and other items within the applications,” Peterson says. “Many states offer some type of assistance to SBIR/STTR applicants, and as can be seen in various data and reports, states with good success rates don’t take the application process lightly, but capitalize in the future of their early-stage technology companies and help creating technology with valuable intellectual rights.”

Dr. Nahar encourages every startup to explore SBIR/STTR opportunities. “SBIR/STTR funding can support early stage technology innovations when no angel investors or venture capitalists are able to invest in a startup. Moreover, SBIR/STTR funds are investments from the federal government to the startups with prospects of the country's future economic development and without any dilution of the company equity so the founders can pour all their energies into the company's goal towards success without any concern of losing the company share or equity,” she explains. “It can be the lifeline of a startup to take an innovative idea to the development stage.”