Over $1 billion in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funds and over $100 million in Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funds are available each year to qualifying companies, making these the largest pool of seed-stage R&D money available in the USA and the most cost-effective from a company’s standpoint. The programme is designed to stimulate innovative research by small businesses while providing government agencies with new solutions to technical and scientiﬁc problems. Federal grants for innovation are critical to the prompt commercial development of technologies in any region trying to jump-start an innovation-based economy. For the intermediary, the interface between ﬁrms winning grants at this phase provides another avenue for deal ﬂow for the angel and investment community.
Bendis created programmes called Research Dollars, a regional programme for Greater Philadelphia, and the Innovation Partnership, a state-wide programme for Pennsylvania, which were modelled on the successful SBIR assistance programmes of the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation. These programmes offer small grants to reimburse the costs incurred by ﬁrms in preparing grant applications, which are sizeable costs for small ﬁrms. Often, travel is required to meet with federal programme administrators and then there are the opportunity costs involved in preparing the extensive grant materials. The management of the Innovation Partnership has now been transferred to BFTP.