UT to Host SBIR Grant Information Session April 4

Learn how to participate in federal Small Business Innovation Research grants at the SBIR Informational Session at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The session will be held at 4 p.m. April 4 in West Wing Room 440 of the Haslam Business Building, 1000 Volunteer Blvd.

The event is hosted by the UT Research Foundation, Three Roots Capital and the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in UT’s Haslam College of Business. The event is open to the public, but registration is required.

The 90-minute session provides a brief overview of the SBIR program and incentives provided by the state of Tennessee. Participants will hear from a panel of three local SBIR veterans who together have raised several million dollars in research and development funding for their companies.

Topics include strategies for successfully competing and winning SBIR funding awards and making connections to successful award winners. Featured speakers will be Steven Ripp, research associate professor in UT’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering Research and Center for Environmental Biotechnology; Christopher Rey, president and founder of Tai-Yang Research Company; and Lee Martin, industrial and systems engineering professor of practice and engineering entrepreneurship Director at UT.

Federal research agencies like the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy and National Institutes of Health collectively set aside over $2.5 billion annually for SBIR grants.

These grants are available to small businesses to prove feasibility, develop prototypes and commercialize technologies. The program is a peer-reviewed competitive grant program that can provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to a startup to help prepare the technology for market entry.

In addition, most agencies provide programs for grantees to develop their business model in parallel with their development to ensure they are ready to compete in their chosen marketplace. Some startups have raised several million dollars through the SBIR program.


Boyd Venture Fund Applications Due 11/9

For the fourth consecutive semester, the Boyd Venture Fund is soliciting applications from student-owned companies seeking seed-funding grants. All University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), students, regardless of academic discipline or degree program (doctoral, masters, or undergraduate) are eligible to apply. 

To qualify for the grant money, each business must be legally established (federal tax ID, business license, etc.). The student owners must be enrolled in a UTK degree program at the time of application (although meeting with the grant-evaluation committee after graduation is acceptable).

To apply for the grant, the student owner(s) representing the company should submit an executive summary of the business, a pro forma budget, and a “use of funds” statement detailing how the grant funds would be spent to move the business forward. This information should be sent to:


Subject Line: The Boyd Venture Fund

Deadline for grant-application submissions this semester is Friday, November 9th.  Those businesses invited to “pitch” to the grant-award committee will be notified by Monday, November 12th with presentations to the awards committee scheduled for Friday, November 16th.  Pitches may be done by Skype or video conferencing for management teams not on campus.  

Up to $20,000 is available to be awarded. The money may be allocated to one company, multiple companies, or possibly no companies (if the judging committee does not think any of the applications are worthy). The Anderson Center will work with any business that receives a grant to connect it with a volunteer “mentor,” an experienced individual with interest in the type of business being awarded a grant.

 The grant-award committee will consider:

  • Viability of the business concept
  • Growth potential
  • Need for capital

The Boyd Venture Fund is made possible by the generosity of Randy Boyd, President and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, makers of PetSafe, Invisible Fence and SportDog brands. Radio Systems is a business built on the knowledge that pets are members of the family. Radio Systems’ 400 worldwide employees produce the industry’s most popular and innovative products in pet training, containment, safety, and lifestyle for an audience dear to their hearts: their own pets.