August 02, 2018
Karen B. Roberts
Federal program managers representing $2.5 billion in research and development (R&D) seed funding are coming to the University of Delaware on Monday, Aug. 20.
The visit is part of the SBIR Road Tour that is being presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration to share funding opportunities provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
The Delaware SBIR Road Tour is set for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at John M. Clayton Hall on UD’s Newark campus. It is the only SBIR Road Tour stop in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Registration is open and the cost to attend is $50 per person. To register, click here.
This is a coveted opportunity for faculty, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and small technology firms from across the Mid-Atlantic region to:
- Learn about America’s largest R&D seed fund
- Connect with federal funders and regional investors
- Learn about state-sponsored innovation support
- Share research and technology concepts
- Meet business development and technology resource partners
Attendees can sign up for one-on-one sessions with program managers from federal agencies, to share their R&D, innovation and commercialization ideas and to discuss submitting a proposal for funding. One-one-one meetings with federal agency program managers are available on a first-come, first-served basis until Aug. 14. After registering, attendees will be contacted via the email address they provided in registration with information about how to sign up for one-on-one meetings.
Federal agencies scheduled to attend include the Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy and more.
UD’s Small Business Development Center
The SBIR Road Tour also is an opportunity for attendees to learn about and connect with staff at the Delaware Small Business Development Center and to learn about available services at UD.
Amy Cowperthwait, a clinical nurse specialist in UD’s Nursing Resource Simulation Center, can attest to the valuable help and guidance that the SBDC and OEIP provide. Cowperthwait is the founder and CEO of Avkin (formerly known as SimUCare), a company that produces wearable technology that helps nursing students or medical caretakers build skills in clinical procedures, such as drawing blood, tracheostomy care or catheter insertion. The Avkin devices are designed to be worn by a live actor to provide a realistic experience for nursing students in a simulated clinical setting to practice before they begin treating real patients.
Avkin is one of a growing number of success stories to emerge from OEIP, which shepherds viable new products developed by faculty and students to the marketplace. Today, Avkin has several devices either on the market, in final testing or in development. All have emerged from cross-campus collaborations with UD engineering students, and many have been perfected through testing with UD’s Healthcare Theatre, which Cowperthwait co-founded with a colleague in the theater department. In 2016, Avkin was named one of the best startups in the nation by the National Council for Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer.
But it isn’t long ago that Avkin was just a fledgling startup. And, Cowperthwait remembers the valuable advice and support that Tracy Shickel and Mike Bowman provided to help her find and apply for funding to develop various products at Avkin. Shickel is UD’s director of economic development and Bowman is the SBDC state director and associate director of OEIP.
“The SBDC and UD have been an integral part of our success at Avkin. Initially, the SBDC provided education on how to start working on the financial aspects of the company and different options for forming the company (S, C corps, or LLC),” said Cowperthwait. “Later advice centered on finding and working with an investor, marketing help and insights, as well as facilitating connections to the Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the people at the state level for exporting.”
For newcomers preparing to pitch their idea or concept for the first time in front of a federal funding program manager during the SBIR Road Tour, Cowperthwait advises treating the meeting like a demonstration.
“Bring stuff for show and tell. You have heard that a picture is worth a thousand words? It is still true,” said Cowperthwait.
About SBIR Road Tour
The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the non-dilutive technology funding opportunity provided through the U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These funding opportunities are considered non-dilutive, meaning that the federal government awards funding to small businesses developing groundbreaking, high-risk technologies while taking no equity.
About Delaware’s SBDC
The Delaware Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high-quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to help new and scaling businesses grow and succeed.
Since the program’s inception in 1984, Delaware SBDC has helped Delaware’s research and small business community start more than 1,350 new businesses, and since 2000, raise over $200 million in capital and create more than 4,000 jobs.
The Delaware SBDC program is a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of Delaware and the University of Delaware. Delaware’s SBDC was accredited in 2009 as a “technology” designated program for its expertise in targeting and supporting Delaware’s technology-based businesses, and its pivotal role as an essential connector and resource within Delaware’s entrepreneurial and technology ecosystems.
SBDC and Delaware’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) are units of UD’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) Since its formation in 2008, OEIP has worked with the state, Delaware Technology Park and numerous researchers and companies in creating a culture where innovation and entrepreneurship can thrive in Delaware.