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Small technology companies win grants to fund innovation

Twenty-four innovative small companies across North Carolina will get grants to develop new products, hire more employees and purchase needed materials, Governor Roy Cooper announced recently. A total of $1.1 million from the One North Carolina Small Business Program will go to the selected technology-oriented businesses in 14 communities across the state.

“These innovative companies have the ideas to succeed but need help with seed money to create new technologies and bring them to market,” said Governor Cooper. “These grants can help spur new products and industries, increase the number of high-paying jobs across the state, and improve our quality of life.”

The One NC Small Business Program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, provides state grants to match federal funds awarded through the highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which help small companies develop new and innovative technologies that have high potential for commercialization.

This year’s cohort of grantees is the most geographically diverse in the program’s history. Criteria were established for this grant cycle to prioritize new companies and companies outside the state’s most prosperous counties, resulting in an increased number of grants going to companies in the state’s 80 most economically distressed counties.

One of the companies receiving a grant is Ingateygen, LLC of Elizabeth City. They will get $50,000 to develop a commercial prototype for a hypoallergenic peanut to combat peanut allergies and potential food recalls. This SBIR project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

“The North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation recognized the growing split between urban and rural parts of the state,” said Michael Cunningham, executive vice president and general counsel, Red Hat, Inc. and board chair. “In an effort to bridge this divide, the Board was able to provide more grants to rural parts of the state in this cohort of grantees, thus supporting greater innovation statewide.”

Since 2006, the One North Carolina Small Business Program has helped more than 270 companies in 45 cities across North Carolina develop and bring to market hundreds of high-tech products. North Carolina is among a handful of innovative states that have chosen to bolster their economy this way. A 2017 evaluation of the program’s results found it has created or supported more than 900 high paying jobs, attracted more than $500 million in external investment, and generated $125 million in total commercial sales directly from the technology developed with the program’s funding.

“The One NC Small Business Program has been instrumental in driving technological innovation across the state,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “The program provides funding for companies in a wide variety of sectors, including life sciences, chemicals, agriculture, computers, communications, military/defense, pharmaceuticals, energy, materials and others.”

The program’s grants support companies at a critical stage of their growth, shortening the time needed from takeoff to the point where they become large, successful companies. Many recipients have said the grants were the vital injection of capital they needed to put their companies on a successful trajectory.

The Office of Science, Technology and Innovation, a division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, administers the program on behalf of the Board. For additional information, see https://www.nccommerce.com/grants-incentives/technology-funds/one-north-carolina-small-business-program.

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