ASBTDC Connects Innovative Arkansas Entrepreneurs with National SBIR Experts

July 13th, 2015 by Gwen Green

Face-to-face and online, ASBTDC is helping innovative Arkansas entrepreneurs engage with the federal agencies that award $2 billion annually to small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research program.

ASBTDC recently brought two SBIR experts, Brent Elrod and Dr. Lenka Fedorkova, to Little Rock to network with Arkansas-based entrepreneurs and companies and share their agency-specific insights.  Each of the 11 agencies that participate in SBIR has unique requirements and points of emphasis that prospective small business applicants need to know to increase their odds of winning federal awards.

May 19, ASBTDC hosted a USDA SBIR Networking Event at UALR featuring Elrod, national SBIR program leader for the Department of Agriculture and head of the agency’s Community and Rural Development program. Elrod talked with participants about their emerging technology ideas and gave advice for writing successful applications.

“This event provided attendees with the immediate benefit of face time with Mr. Elrod to begin building professional agency relationships and to learn how to shape their project ideas to match the USDA’s SBIR priority areas,” said Rebecca Norman, ASBTDC innovation consultant. “In the long-term, attendees will benefit from maintaining communication with Mr. Elrod and gathering feedback on evolving project ideas prior to proposal submission.”

Fedorkova, SBIR/STTR program manager for the National Institutes of Health, visited Little Rock July 1 to meet with several Arkansas entrepreneurs and get acquainted with their biotechnology-based research. ASBTDC staff arranged and participated in the meetings. In June, a Q&A with Dr. Fedorkova was published on ASBTDC’s Lab2Launch blog and featured in the L2L newsletter.

“Dr. Fedorkova’s years of experience in the fields of technology transfer and commercialization make her a strong asset for companies to engage for specific guidance in bridging the gap between final product development and commercial market,” said Norman. “As these small businesses move forward with their projects, Fedorkova can bring awareness to their efforts through her professional network of agency and business contacts.”

ASBTDC continues to host popular live webinars featuring SBIR experts. Since 2011, ASBTDC has offered webinars in partnership with agencies including USDA, NIH, National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Education. NIH Scientific Review Officer Dr. Amy Rubinstein was the featured presenter for the most recent webinar June 8.

The outreach and technical assistance ASBTDC provides to science and technology-based businesses is supported by Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership funding from the Small Business Administration.