LaunchTN supports renewed funding for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) matching funds, which continues to be one of the state’s most promising ways to support the commercialization of high-value startups in Tennessee. The SBIR/STTR program is a competitive awards based-program whose goal is to transform federally funded research and development into public benefit through commercialization efforts. It was designated as a federal program by President Ronald Reagan in 1982.
Tennessee’s SBIR/STTR matching fund, administered by LaunchTN, was first signed into law during the 2016 session and funded in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 sessions. The matching program is an important tool that bolsters entrepreneurship in the state by matching federal dollars allotted to exciting, job-creating new Tennessee companies. It’s a small budget item with a big reward as it incentivizes the best and brightest companies and professionals in Tennessee to build their technologies here. The presence of an SBIR/STTR State Matching Fund is a major factor to retain and recruit tech-based startups to the state.
To date, 52 companies have leveraged almost $24 million federal dollars, 4 times our state’s investment. These funds have helped Tennessee small businesses hire additional employees, build better technologies, and obtain more capital to further growth here at home. As of June 2020, 60% of companies had gone on to raise over $53 million in private capital, and 58% have since generated revenue. Half (50%) of these companies had female, minority, rural, and/or veteran representation in their executive leadership.
We ask for the restoration of the Tennessee SBIR/STTR Fund so that the state can continue to meet the needs of grant winners.
Please click the links below to read about or view videos of some of our extraordinary success stories of Tennessee entrepreneurs.