The Technology Commercialization Services team provides one-on-one business counseling and advice to: small business owners, university researchers, and entrepreneurs looking to advance their innovations to  the marketplace.

One NC Small Business Program Solicitation Released

Under the current (FY 2019) solicitation, the maximum grant award is 50% of the Federal SBIR/STTR Program award, not to exceed $50,000. The current solicitation period is July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019 inclusive, or until funds have been exhausted. Due to funding limitations this year, eligible applicants are limited to those Phase I SBIR/STTR awardees that:
  1. Have not previously received a matching award under the One North Carolina Small Business Program and have less than 10 employees, or
  2. Are located in a Tier 1 or 2 county (2018 designations), as defined by the NC Department of Commerce.
Applicants must have received official notification of Phase I award by a federal SBIR/STTR agency during the solicitation period (July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019 inclusive) to be eligible. Be sure to submit your application within 45 days of receipt of your federal award notification. For companies whose federal notification occurred between the start date (July 1, 2018) and release date (September 14, 2018) of the solicitation, applications must be received within 45 days from the release date of the solicitation.

For additional eligibility requirements, please see the current solicitation, available at .

NC's SBIR / STTR Awards Rise Significantly over 2015

North Carolina's small R&D companies continued to accelerate its use of the federal SBIR and STTR funding mechanisms. Award data for 2017 was compared against that of 2015 and all metrics analyzed demonstrated healthy gains.  
Most notably, total dollars awarded rose 24% to over $63 million across 95 Phase 1 awards and 52 phase 2 awards in 2017. This ranks NC in 10th place nationally, unchanged compared to 2015. For the sake of comparison, NC was ranked 20th only a decade ago. This is the largest amount of SBIR/STTR dollars that NC has secured over the 35 year life of the program. Since the program's inception in 1983 over $970 million has been awarded to NC firms.

Also of interest is that that the number of unique awardees increased 21% over 2015 to 2017, reaching a total of 98. This is very important to in that it demonstrates the broader based of small businesses, and novel technologies, that are accessing these funds.
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17-Year Anniversary of Tech Commercialization 
Graduate Internship Program

2018 marks the 17th anniversary of this organized summer internship program under the direction of John Ujvari, SBIR Program Specialist.  In these 17 years, 150 students have participated with 300 clients for a total of 60,000 hours of service.  This is the equivalent of 30 full-time employment years. 

We recently wrapped up this year's program in which 12 graduate student interns from across the state worked with over 20 small businesses, many of which are SBIR/STTR awardees. Projects included primary market research, financial analysis, commercialization plan development, market assessments, competitive analysis and more. Participating schools included NC State, UNC-CH, Duke, Western Carolina and UNC-Charlotte.

Past interns have gone on to land full-time positions at a companies of all sizes in a multitude of industries around the world, while a handful also take on the challenge of starting their own business, some of which have now had successful financial exits.

Class of 2018 Interns

Greensboro's KBI Receives another SBIR from NSF

On September 8, 2018, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) feasibility grant to Kepley BioSystems (KBI) for a novel approach to Limulus amebocyte lysate collection from Atlantic horseshoe crabs (HSC, Limulus polyphemus). As a start-up committed to developing disruptive innovations to address global challenges, KBI proposed methods for easing a myriad of pressures on wild HSC populations at prospective Coastal Georgia sites.
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National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Deadline December 4th

The National Science Foundation's next SBIR proposal submission deadline is coming up very soon. With the December 4th deadline quickly approaching, you should be well on your way with the proposal preparation and registration process. If not, do not delay another day!

Webinars delivered by various program managers which offer Q&A are being delivered on multiple dates in October and November. Keep an eye on for when these dates are scheduled.

Soliciting Pre-Submission Feedback Potential proposers may (but are NOT required to) submit an executive summary to help gauge whether a project meets the program's intellectual merit and broader/commercial impact criteria. The Executive Summary should be short and succinct and discuss the company and team; the market opportunity, value proposition, and customers; the technology/innovation; key technology risks to be addressed by this effort; and the competition. The cognizant Program Director will respond with feedback. Please note that responsiveness of Program Directors will be limited as the solicitation deadline approaches. Program management staff contact information is available at:

SBIR/STTR Solicitation Dates

SBTDC Committed to Providing Equity Funding Guidance

The SBTDC is committed to providing support to companies across North Carolina as they raise capital to commercialize innovations and grow their businesses. This new feature in our newsletter is meant to help our readers stay up-to-date on the equity funding ecosystem in NC. We will provide insights into the equity funding market, help you identify events and resources available through the SBTDC and partner organizations and highlight successes in NC.

The consensus among many stakeholders familiar with the NC funding landscape is that the situation for technology businesses raising capital is satisfactory. When considering companies in North Carolina, and their success with attracting non-dilutive funding and equity financing, we do have a lot to be proud of as a state.  
However, entrepreneurs constantly deal with the challenges of raising capital and navigating the funding landscape. There are many options available to entrepreneurs, yet understanding the fit and timing of these funding sources can be daunting. For example, local and federal grants, foundation funding, debt financing, revenue sharing, crowd-funding, angel investors, venture capital, corporate vc, private equity, and family offices are a few of the many options in the landscape that one must navigate. Once a funding source is identified, the challenge has just begun. Now there is a need to present a compelling business case and convince decision makers that the company has the team that can get the job done. This all takes preparation, persistence and focus! The SBTDC is here to support companies as they evaluate the funding landscape and prepare to raise capital.
To further demonstrate that the SBTDC is committed to helping companies raise equity funding, Technology Commercialization Counselor, Mike Carnes, was recently appointed as the organization's Equity Funding Specialist. In this role, Mike will provide counseling and educational services focused on equity funding and organizing events such as the SBTDC's "Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur" workshop.

In the News

If you missed this July 17th article in WRAL TechWire you should give it a read. This shines light on recent venture capital trends in NC and provides commentary from several stakeholders in our ecosystem:
Don't Let Networking Tie You in Knots

Regardless of the marketability of the product or the talent of the team, there is no way around the age old practice of networking for the entrepreneur. The advantages of networking are numerous, and the outcomes of persistent networking can be customer discovery, an effective word-of-mouth campaign, a portal to potential investors, a reservoir of insights and knowledge, or simply a social outlet. Of course, there are many other positives, yet many entrepreneurs find networking to be a buzzword as mysterious as the inner workings of the Sun and as pleasurable as a root canal, sans Novocain. Even if an entrepreneur has the epiphany to add a team member to do all the networking (aka "the marketing guy"), which is itself a spurious goal, how is that same entrepreneur expected to find such a team member without making connections and spreading their story? Simply put, it is often unlikely that such a person is already known. With that little reality check, this article will highlight some tools that can ease even the most reluctant entrepreneur toward the goal of having and benefitting from a strong network.

Collaborations in NC Shows that it Takes a Village

North Carolina small tech businesses are fortunate to have a "Village" of funding mechanisms and advisory resources available to them. 
A limited analysis of how the SBTDC's targeted services in Technology Development and Commercialization is helping our clients cross-leverage statewide resources is demonstrated in the table below:

It takes an entire community of different people and programs, each with its own set of unique resources, working together to help a business be successful. The stronger the village, the more robust our small businesses will be.

The North Carolina Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) educates business associates on how to obtain contracts by providing comprehensive assistance in selling products and services to local, state and federal government agencies.
The SBTDC's International Business Development Specialists assists small and mid-sized businesses with export planning and exporting.

The Team

Director, Technology Development 
and Commercialization 
SBIR/STTR Specialist & Newsletter Editor 
Technology Commercialization Counselor
Eastern NC
Technology Commercialization Counselor
North Central NC
Technology Commercialization Counselor
Western NC

Technology Commercialization Program

5 West Hargett St., Suite 600 Raleigh, NC 27601