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Technology Commercialization

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center's Technology Commercialization Assistance services are designed to assist technology entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to develop a corporate strategy that will help them to take their technologies to market. SBDC technology consultants assist high growth and technology firms with sophisticated business management issues including alternative financing, human resources, patents and trade marking, intellectual property, and product commercialization. Cooperating with host institutions the SBDCs also help struggling U.S. Department of Defense contractors locate markets outside of the Department of Defense.

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers are part of the Innovation Partnership, a consortium of economic development and business assistance organizations located throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania designed to increase both the quantity and the quality of the statewide Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposals through marketing, proposal preparation and proposal assistance. For more information, visit www.innovationpartnership.net.

Technology Commercialization Resources
Click on the resources below for more information on developing and commercializing your company's technologies.

Frequently Asked Questions
What specific technology commercialization services do the SBDCs offer?

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center's Technology Commercialization Assistance services are designed to assist technology entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to develop a corporate strategy that will assist them in taking their technologies to market. Specific services offered to entrepreneurs include:

  • Providing a full range of business consulting services including:
    • business planning;
    • consulting on conventional and non-conventional financing opportunities;
    • market strategy development;
    • locating resources on protecting intellectual property rights;
    • assisting in trade marking and copyrighting;
    • conducting preliminary patent searches.
  • Identifying appropriate partnerships with state, federal, and local economic development organizations to ensure businesses have access to a full array of resources and services.
  • Identifying target markets and assisting firms in bringing new products to market.
  • Developing processes and design strategies for commercializing technologies.
  • Identifying alternate sources of financing, including SBIR/STTR and other federally funded research opportunities, to help in the commercialization the process.

What is "SBIR" and "STTR"?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program was created when Congress mandated that all federal agencies with an extramural research budget of $100 million or more must set aside a percentage of their research dollars for awards to small businesses and individuals. Consequently ten agencies participate in the SBIR program that allows for-profit small businesses to submit competitive proposals to address various solicitation topics that are unique to each agency. The SBIR program is administered under a three-phase concept. Phase I is designed to allow a recipient to prove the overall feasibility of a proposed concept. Depending on the agency, these awards can be up to $100,000 for work that typically spans a 6-month study period ($200,000 and two years for certain projects sponsored by the National Institutes of Health). If the agency deems the small business has satisfactorily completed the work they will consider a follow-on Phase II award. These awards, again depending on the agency, can be for up to $750,000 for two years of effort (in some cases more for NIH). All Phase II winners are then expected to enter Phase III and commercialize their technology. No additional awards are provided to support this work; rather, the agency intends for the small business to self-finance or line up an investor. In no case can a Phase II award be received without a preceding Phase I, but not all Phase I projects are successful in earning a Phase II.

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program is a sister program to the SBIR, with virtually the same structure and application process. However, only 5 agencies currently participate. The most significant difference between the two programs is that, while qualified non-profit research institutions or universities may cooperate in an SBIR project, they must collaborate on STTR projects.

As you would expect, each federal agency has their own rules for doing things, with different topics for bidding, different competition deadlines, different methods of preparing and accepting proposals, etc. Just because one agency does it one way, don't assume others will do it the same way.

To learn more about the SBIR and STTR programs, go to www.sba.gov. Included in the helpful information on this site is a link to the SBIR Handbook for Proposal Preparation.

What is a technology company?

Many small companies are working in areas of technology and conducting research but do not view themselves as being part of the high technology industry. The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers have developed a definition of technology, along with a listing of North American Industrial Classification Codes, to assist small businesses in determining their technology niche.

A technology company is defined as:

  • A pre-venture entrepreneur attempting to commercialize a practical application of science; or
  • An existing business that utilizes the practical application of science for commercial purposes