Beginning July 15, 2016, the Launch Tennessee Connect | Microgrants program is available to Tennessee-based early-stage companies that are currently or in the near-term will be applying for an SBIR/STTR Phase I, Phase II or Fast-Track award. Additional qualifying conditions are below.
The intent of the Microgrants program is to increase the quantity of quality SBIR/STTR applications from Tennessee early-stage companies by providing financial support for quality SBIR/STTR grant-writing assistance.
- Company is Tennessee-based at the time of application, with agreement in good faith to remain in Tennessee for the 12 months following the SBIR/STTR grant application and, if award is made, to remain in Tennessee for 12 months from the time of the SBIR/STTR award. For this purpose, Tennessee-based means the company is headquartered in Tennessee and its principal business operations are in Tennessee.
- Company’s formation date is no more than five years prior to the time of Microgrant application.
- Company has not received a Launch Tennessee Connect | Microgrant in the 12 months prior to the time of application, with an exception being when a company has received a Microgrant for a Phase I award, is now pursuing a Phase II award and is therefore applying for Phase II assistance.
- Company must provide evidence of participation in a LaunchTN-approved in-person or webinar training program within the 12 months prior to the time of application. Approved programs include:
Company referral process
- Companies must be referred by one of the following members of the LaunchTN network:
- A Launch Tennessee Connect statewide mentor network EIR or lead mentor
- An Entrepreneur Center or Accelerator Cohort executive director (in TN or out-of-state)
- A Tech Transfer Office director from an academic or federal research institution (in TN or out-of-state) or the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services
- An accredited angel investor or venture fund manager (in TN or out-of-state)
- The company must submit, or have the referrer submit, a Microgrant Referral Letter on the referrer’s letterhead to SBIRsupport@launchtn.org
- The purpose of the referral is to help certify that the company is at a point where an SBIR/STTR award is a legitimate prospect, so that LaunchTN is more likely to see an ROI on its funds in the form of a successful grant proposal.
- No self-referrals will be accepted.
Company application process
Once referred to LaunchTN, the company must complete the Microgrant Request Form via the apply button below or at this link. Submission of that form will also indicate the company’s intention to remain based in Tennessee as well as the ongoing processes outlined below.
Grant-writer approval process
Companies may either select a grant writer from the LaunchTN-approved list (available by request from SBIRsupport@launchtn.org) or may request to engage a grant writer of their choosing. If the latter, the company must provide to LaunchTN, in writing, the qualifications of the outside grant writer, including, but not limited to, a resume or CV and a list of SBIR applications previously submitted and the corresponding win rate. LaunchTN will approve or reject the proposed outside grant writer within five (5) business days.
Microgrant award and post-award process
- A LaunchTN team will review applications, referral letters and other submitted materials. The review process may also include a phone or in-person interview.
- LaunchTN will respond to the company either approving or rejecting the Microgrant request within 15 business days of all the request materials being submitted. Requests will not be accepted within 30 days of the SBIR/STTR application due date.
- Microgrants will be awarded of up to $4,000 for SBIR/STTR Phase I assistance and up to $6,000 for SBIR/STTR Phase II assistance throughout FY2017 pending availability of funding.
- Microgrant funds must be collected within six months of LaunchTN notifying the company of their Microgrant.
- Company will contract independently with the grant writer. LaunchTN will not be a party to agreements between companies and grant writers.
- Microgrants will be paid to the company upon confirmation of the SBIR/STTR grant application submission, an invoice from the grant-writer and the company’s W-9. The Microgrant is specific to the SBIR/STTR solicitation indicated on the company’s application and will not automatically be made available for any other solicitation.
- Companies receiving Microgrants agree to notify LaunchTN of award status and, if successful, to respond to annual surveys re: job creation, capital raised & other metrics for a period of five years post-award. [Metrics information will be used in aggregate and never attributed to specific companies.] All companies receiving Microgrants will be asked to submit feedback related to working with their grant writer.
Summary of necessary documents for Microgrant application:
- Microgrant Referral Letter
- Microgrant Request Form
- Proof of completion of a LaunchTN-approved SBIR/STTR training program
- Indication of LaunchTN-approved grant writer
Summary of necessary documents for Microgrant payment:
- Company’s proof of SBIR/STTR Application submission
- Invoice from LaunchTN-approved grant writer
- Company’s W-9 Form
LaunchTN reserves the right to adjust eligibility criteria and program requirements.