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 MicroGrant from IPart that reimburses one-half of the cost incurred in preparing the proposal itself, up to $2,000.
All proposal concepts under review are fully protected by non-disclosure agreements to ensure confidentiality of proprietary information.
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 future economy.
The Partnership is particularly interested in supporting businesses that show early signs of commercial success in the following sectors:
- Clean energy and energy-related
- Bioscience and life sciences
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Communications Technology
Companies who submit MicroGrant Program applications may request up to $2,000 for one-half of the proposal preparation costs.
Use of Funds
IPart strongly encourages applicants to request funds for the following direct proposal preparation costs. In addition, applicants are reminded that adequate justification must be provided for all budgeted costs.
- Professional services, including market studies or writing, proofreading, and editing
- Reproduction of proposal and preparation materials
- Consulting fees supporting technology development, commercialization, or both
- Payments to any non-domestically-based entity or for any non-domestic purpose are not allowed
- 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 a reasonable capability to complete the work outlined in the project
- Applicants who accept an offer of financial 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 applications to either the MicroGrant/MicroVoucher/FMA (Federal Marketing Assistance Program: Phase II Assistance Program – client must ask IPart Sponsor Partner or the IPart Director to participate in this program) per calendar year, and no more than three MicroVoucher and/or MicroGrant and/or FMA awards (combined) will be made to a single applicant per calendar year
- 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 (PPA) technical review while continuing to adhere to the submission limits noted previously
- Services of a professional for writing, word processing, proof-reading and/or editing
- Consulting fees supporting technology development and/or commercialization strategies
- Reproduction of the proposal and preparation materials
- Other costs directly related to preparing the proposal, including fees for market studies or technical database research
- Salaries of personnel directly involved in preparing the proposal, in proportion to their time investment
Terms of Participation
Program participants agree to comply with the following responsibilities:
- 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 first draft of their IPart PPA to IPart staff at least five-six (5-6) 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). IPart Pre-Proposal Must be in ‘Good Form’ to send out to Technical Reviewers four (4) weeks before the federal deadline [Please consult the SOLICITATIONS Page on this website]. Applications are reviewed on a first-received basis.
The Review Process
- Three reviewers chosen from a national, qualified pool are assigned to each submitted application
- Using an online 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 Investment Committee comprised of IPart business consulting professionals employed by our supporting member organizations
- The evaluation report, together with the application itself, forms the basis for the Investment 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.
Funds Disbursement for Financial Assistance
Innovation Partnership will release funds to the recipient 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 the IPart Director at (717)948-4318.