Tech Entrepreneurs in Michigan: Are You Getting What’s Coming to You?

October 12, 2012

in Technology Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Small businesses are incredibly important to our economy and our workforce. According to the SBA Office of Advocacy, America’s small businesses create seven of every ten new jobs and employ just over half of the country’s private sector workforce.

However, getting a small business off the ground and taking a product or service to market is no easy feat.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs in Michigan are in luck. Michigan has all kinds of assistance programs available to cultivate ideas into marketable products.

An ongoing interest in technology means that many small businesses are technology-based, and Michigan is helping to grow this industry by helping small businesses succeed. It is one of only a few states that provide a comprehensive program to train and help entrepreneurs to prepare proposals to compete for federal funding through the government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and/or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Nationally, 11 federal agencies make high-risk capital available to fund R&D at the nation’s most innovative small companies through the SBIR Program and award $2.5 billion in grants and contracts through a competitive awards-based program to help stimulate technological innovation, meet federal R&D needs and foster participation in innovation and entrepreneurship. This model encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from commercialization.

While this is available on a national level, Michigan has a special program. Michigan’s SBIR/STTR Assistance Program  is funded by a grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and managed by BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting (BBCetc). The current program is in effect through September 2014 or until such time as MSF funds are no longer available.

The program offers entrepreneurs:

SBIR/STTR Training

All aspects of writing competitive proposals for R&D funding through the federal SBIR/STTR program are covered in a series of seminars and workshops. The training covers all agencies, including the Department of Energy (DoE), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense (DoD), NASA, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  • SBIR/STTR 101:  an introduction to the program in a half-day seminar designed to assist attendees in determining their eligibility and suitability for this source of funding.
  • SBIR/STTR Proposal Preparation Workshops provide in-depth training in a 1-to-2 day workshop format.  Courses are offered with specific agency focus and provide all details necessary to develop a competitive proposal.
  • Electronic Submission Workshop provides detailed instructions for completing company registrations and grant application forms using
  • Technology commercialization training focuses on the elements of commercialization critical to SBIR/STTR stage companies.
  • Grants management covers the financial and administrative aspects of managing federal grants and contracts for small businesses

SBIR/STTR Proposal Development Assistance

BBCetc assists clients in all aspects of SBIR/STTR proposal development, including:

  • developing an overall grant strategy
  • identifying appropriate solicitations
  • project planning
  • scientific and editorial review
  • assistance with proposal submission
  • assistance with details of post-submission administration

Companies that get help through BBC are 2 to 3 times more successful at securing federal research grants. In fact, more than 100 companies in Michigan in the past two years have received SBIRs after receiving BBC assistance.

BBCetc collaborates with organizations across the state, including the MEDC, MI-SBTDC and Michigan’s Smart Zones™, to make this program readily available to entrepreneurs and technology companies. To learn more about this program, contact BBCetc at or 734-930-9741, or visit

Jayne Berkaw is the Director, Marketing and Research for BBC. Jayne joined BBC in 2012, bringing with her over 25 years of marketing and communications experience. She has managed public, media and investor relations programs for corporations and non-profit organizations in a variety of industries including banking, publishing, pharmaceutical and real estate. In addition to developing communications strategies for major announcements and crisis situations, Jayne has developed and managed employee communications, websites and social media programs, written numerous corporate annual reports and promotional materials, and coordinated many types of events. She has a B.A. from Michigan State University.

Are you an entrepreneur or business leader in Michigan and want to share your success story or tell how Michigan has helped your business grow?  Share your story on the Michigan Advantage blog!  Learn more about being a guest blogger.

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