Collaboration Encourages Interest in Small Business Innovation Research, Hosts 70 Participants

IUIN member, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), hosted a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Workshop on November 18, 2019 at the Dunn-Richmond Center in the SIUC Research Park. A live webinar and moderation of the workshop was offered at four additional host locations throughout Illinois. Individuals viewing at home also had access to a live stream of the workshop. Seventy participants, which included small business owners, researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and community members, joined the workshop to learn more about SBIR funding.

The workshop was designed for participants at all levels of interest. An existing startup company was not required to participate. Roland Garton, an SBIR consultant affiliated with the Illinois University Incubator Network, provided a comprehensive overview of SBIR basics as well as a deeper-dive on the process of preparing, submitting, and executing SBIR awards. Participants who attended the workshop on-site at SIUC had an opportunity to schedule a brief-one-on-one session with Roland to discuss their specific technology or proposal idea. Participants who attended one of the hosted webinars had an opportunity to schedule a brief teleconference with Roland later that week.

The IUIN, in partnership with the Illinois Small Business Development Center Network, the IL PTAC at Western Illinois University, and the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Research Park, collaborated to produce the workshop and webinar. Webinar host locations throughout Illinois included the Illinois PTAC at Joseph Center, Forest Park, IL; the Illinois SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE, Edwardsville, IL; the Illinois SBDC at Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL; and the Illinois PTAC at the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), Chicago IL.

Frieda Curry, Managing Director of the WBDC in Chicago, was pleased with the workshop and local participation. “Roland delivered an excellent introduction-to-SBIR presentation. The Small Business Innovation Research program is an exciting opportunity for innovators and researchers, but it can be complex, confusing and overwhelming. Organizing the presentation into four distinct parts that separated and categorized the components of SBIR, helped keep the wealth of information from blending together. The WBDC workshop participants left feeling encouraged that they had enough information to help them start the ‘if, why, how, expectations’ thinking-process to determine if this is something they should pursue,” shared Curry.

This is the second small business collaborative that the IL PTAC at Western Illinois University has coordinated for the State of Illinois business community. “We have a very strong business network in Illinois and we are using innovative ways to maximize our resources to strengthen Illinois research,” said Theresa Ebeler, Center Director of the IL PTAC at WIU – who was instrumental in coordinating technology and host locations for the webinar component.

About Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

About the Workshop Organizers

The Illinois University Incubator Network is led by EnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois Research Park. Funding support for this workshop is provided by grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The SIU Research Park in Carbondale is home to the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center and the SIUC Small Business Incubator. A catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship development in southern Illinois, the SIU Research Park provides support for entrepreneurship and economic development within SIU and throughout the region south of Interstate 64.  

Illinois Small Business Development Centers are located throughout the state and provide information, confidential business guidance, training and other resources to start-up and existing small businesses. The Illinois SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Centers are a portal for small businesses looking to enter the world of government contracting. The centers provide one-on-one counseling, technical information, marketing assistance and training to existing businesses interested in selling their goods and services to local, state, and/or federal government agencies. The IL PTAC at Western Illinois University is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Western Illinois University.

December 2, 2019.
Contributors: Cheri Soliday (IUIN), Theresa Ebeler (IL PTAC), Deborah Barnett (SIUC)