Increasing Small Business Technological Capabilities

The Minnesota Innovation and Commercialization Consortium (MICC) and the Hubs (Rochester, St. Cloud, Mankato and Duluth) will work together to drive innovation and commercialization of technology into new products and services by creating awareness of the annual $2.5B federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs to increase the number of proposals submitted and awarded to Minnesota small businesses across the spectrum of science, technology and engineering.  The SBIR/STTR Programs provide small businesses (1-500 employees) with equity-free funding (grants and contracts) to conduct research and development to de-risk a technology for commercialization.  Additionally, the Consortium and the Hubs will identify potential technology transfer opportunities with the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, and other institutions, where the small business has an interest and a viable commercial opportunity.

The Consortium and Hubs will leverage existing relationships and create new relationships to connect, communicate, coordinate and collaborate as a Consortium to deliver outreach, training and mentoring to women, socially and economically disadvantaged businesses and small businesses.  The “WHY” is to increase small business technological capabilities through the establishment of the Consortium and the Hubs comprised of entities or individuals including, but not limited to:

  • State and local development agencies and entities (SciTechsperience);
  • Federal agencies involved in technology or economic development;
  • Technology-based small business to include past SBIR/STTR awardees;
  • Relevant industry representatives and emerging companies;
  • Universities and colleges (University Economic Development, Office for Technology Commercialization, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities);
  • Accelerators and incubators; and
  • Small Business Development Centers (St Cloud, Mankato, Duluth and Rochester).

Cities were selected based on the presence of a major Tier 1 research institution (Minneapolis/St. Paul); a major medical institution (Mayo Clinic) and the University of Minnesota Hormel Institute, Austin and University of Minnesota Duluth, or a state university (Mankato and St. Cloud) with relevant facilities, equipment and expertise and the desire and interest to engage in industry and academic research collaborations and partnerships focused on seeking SBIR/STTR funding.

Program Goals

  • To create each Hub and identify its members;
  • To increase awareness and understanding of the SBIR/STTR Programs;
  • To increase the number of women and socially and economically disadvantaged and small businesses participants;
  • To disseminate SBIR Tutorials and Train the Trainer materials;
  • To mentor, train and develop a community of knowledgeable professionals for the future;
  • To connect small businesses to other resources and capabilities that adds value to their efforts;
  • To select at least five small businesses (startup or existing) for possible proposal submissions; and
  • To assist these small businesses to prepare and to submit high quality research proposals for consideration by a federal agency(s).

Program Outcomes

  • The creation and maintenance of a dynamic Hub ecosystem;
  • To assist three-five small businesses to seek SBIR/STTR funding;
  • To submit three-five proposals; and
  • To secure at least one award (grant or contract of $150K – $225K)

Funding Acknowledgements

In 2017, MNSBIR was designated again as the State’s resource for the federal SBIR/STTR Programs (See Letter of Endorsement).  MNSBIR is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, University of Minnesota, Office for Technology Commercialization and the Minnesota High Tech Association.