MicroVoucher Program Guidelines
The Innovation Partnership (IPart) offers assistance to technology-driven companies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in preparing high quality SBIR/STTR grant proposals for submission to federal funding agencies.
This program offers a no-cost opportunity to receive valuable feedback from professional reviewers on planned Phase I proposal concepts.
Further financial support is offered to those applicants whose proposal concepts are judged to have strong potential for competing successfully in a federal competition. These candidates will be awarded a MicroVoucher from IPart that reimburses one-half of the cost incurred in preparing the proposal itself, with up to a maximum of $3,000 being awarded for the client to engage a Preferred Provider to assist in the proposal preparation.
All proposal concepts under review are fully protected by non-disclosure agreements to ensure confidentiality of proprietary information.
IPart offers assistance to technology-driven companies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in preparing high quality SBIR/STTR grant proposals for submission to federal funding agencies.
IPart’s mission is consistent with other initiatives in the Commonwealth designed to grow the industry and technology sectors that are expected to drive Pennsylvania’s economy in the future. IPart is particularly interested in supporting businesses that show early signs of commercial success in the following sectors:
- Clean energy & energy-related
- Bioscience/life sciences
- Advanced manufacturing
- Communications technology
Companies who are awarded a MicroVoucher for proposal preparation consultant services are instructed to:
- Choose a consultant from either the IPart Preferred Provider (PP) List or
- Self-select a Provider approved in advance by your IPart Sponsor
- Have the Preferred Provider send you their invoice for services rendered for up to $3,000 of the proposal preparation costs
- Date and endorsed the Provider’s invoice
- Forward the invoice to the IPart for payment directly to the Provider
Clients are responsible for payment to the Preferred Provider of any amount exceeding the allowable $3,000 MicroVoucher Award. Costs for PP Services should be discussed upfront with the Provider.
Use of Funds
The MicroVoucher, while awarded to the client, will actually pay the consultant’s invoice for services directly. Innovation Partnership will pay for the following consultant services related to proposal preparation costs.
- Professional services, including market studies or writing, proofreading and/or editing, and providing review and comment.
- Consulting fees supporting technology development, commercialization, or both.
- Reproduction of the proposal and preparation materials by the consultant.
- Other costs directly related to preparing the proposal, including fees for market studies or technical database research, as performed by the consultant.
- Applicants, including: sole-proprietorships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and university-based research teams, must be located in Pennsylvania.
- Subsequent primary manufacture or production of commercial products resulting from the proposal is planned to take place within the same general geographic area.
- Applicants must meet the requirements set forth in the applicable federal agency solicitation and demonstrate reasonable capability to complete the work outlined in the project.
- Applicants who accept an offer of assistance with the cost of preparing their federal proposal are required to provide an equivalent investment, either in the form of cash or in-kind contribution.
Award & Application Limits
- A single applicant may submit no more than five (5) applications to either the MicroGrant/MicroVoucher/FMA (Federal Marketing Assistance Program: Phase II Assistance Program – client MUST ask IPart Sponsor Partner to participate in this program) per calendar year, and no more than three (3) MicroVoucher and/or MicroGrant and/or FMA awards (combined) will be made to a single applicant per calendar year;
- Additionally any individual or company whether with one single company or with multiple companies, may be awarded no more than $20,000 in total support through the IPart MicroGrant/Micro-Voucher/Federal Marketing Assistance and Travel &Training Programs, combined for the lifetime of their program usage;
- Clients who reach the $20,000 award limit, may continue to utilize the IPart’s Pre-Proposal Assistance technical review while continuing to adhere to the submission limits noted previously.
Terms of Participation
Program participants agree to comply with the following responsibilities:
- Provide the IPart with the itemized Consultant Invoice, endorsed and dated by you, the client.
- Provide IPart with a copy of any resulting proposal submitted to the federal agency, along with proof of delivery by the due date. IPart will treat this document as proprietary to the applicant.
- Provide IPart with a copy of the notification that federal funds have been awarded or denied. The recipient agrees to request a debriefing from the federal agency and forward a copy of all comments from the debriefing to IPart.
- If financial assistance is offered and accepted, both parties will sign a written agreement that defines the terms and conditions for the award.
- Promote the successful pursuit of federal funding among other small high-technology firms in the region. Participate in good faith as requested by IPart in activities designed to encourage others in the region to pursue similar federal funding. This participation may include serving as a speaker or panel discussion member at an organized event or providing interviews for published informational or instructional materials.
- Report economic impact data (jobs, sales, investment) to IPart upon the completion of the project and then annually for a period of 3 years. This information will only be used in aggregate form by IPart – confidentiality of data by individual respondent will be protected.
Applicants must submit their requests for assistance at least four (4) weeks in advance of the federal agency’s solicitation due date (Some concessions can be made for DoD applicants or clients responding to “special” Agency requests). Applications are reviewed on a first-received basis.
The Review Process
- Two reviewers chosen from a national, qualified pool are assigned to each submitted application.
- Using an on-line evaluation system, each reviewer accepts a confidentiality agreement and proceeds to read and offer a set of opinions about the application.
- This feedback is then summarized and presented to an IPart Funding Committee comprised of IPart business consulting professionals.
- The evaluation report, together with the application itself, forms the basis for the Funding Committee’s decision regarding eligibility for further financial assistance.
- The decision criteria include the strength of the fit between the project and a specific announced SBIR/STTR research topic as well as the potential to effectively commercialize an innovative application of technology.
Applicants are notified via e-mail of funding decisions. Regardless of further funding eligibility, each applicant receives a copy of the evaluation summary, including reviewer comments. This feedback is intended to be constructive in helping the applicant plan a high quality proposal – if not the one submitted, perhaps another in the future.
MicroVoucher Fund Disbursement or Consultant Payment
Innovation Partnership will release funds (pay the invoice) to the professional consultant after the proposal has been submitted to the federal agency and acceptable proof of compliance with the program requirements has been received.
How to Apply
For additional information about this program or other supporting federal funding for technology development, contact one of the Innovation Partnership member organizations. Innovation Partners Sponsor Contacts