A new program sponsored by Representative Chris Blazejewski and championed by Dr. Denice Spero and Dr. Edward Bozzi, founders of the Rhode Island BioScience Leaders (RI BSL), along with their member companies, is giving a boost to small businesses in Rhode Island’s growing science and technology sectors.
The program, InnovateRI, which passed into law in 2013, assists Rhode Island small businesses in applying for federal funds targeting research and innovation and matches a portion of the federal funds awarded. The legislation also creates an internship program for RI students to intern at RI small bioscience and engineering companies. The centerpiece of the legislation provides eligible small businesses with grants from the InnovateRI fund to match a portion of their federally awarded SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) grants. The Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC) is administering the program and today announced the first awardees for 2015. $262,963 will be awarded to six Rhode Island bioscience and engineering companies to partially match their federally awarded SBIR/STTR grants. The awardees are: Applied Radar, Inc. North Kingston, RI; BTech Acoustics, LLC, Barrington, RI; Calista Therapeutics, Lincoln, RI; ProThera Biologics, East Providence, RI; Navateck CFD Technologies, LLC, South Kingston, RI; and Voltserver, East Greenwich, RI. These awards leverage $1,027,654 in federal funds. Last year, eight companies received $359,880 from the InnovateRI fund to leverage $1,424,592 in federal SBIR/STTR Phase I awards. Two of these companies, CRE Medical and Vision Systems, received Phase II awards totaling $1,250,000 in federal funding.
Formed in September 2012 to support and grow small and medium sized bioscience ventures in Rhode Island, the RI BSL played a pivotal role in advocating for InnovateRI. Dr. Ed Bozzi, Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence Campus, and Dr. Denice Spero, Vice President at NsGene, have grown the RI BSL to 30 member organizations. The InnovateRI fund encourages company growth through supporting engineering and biomedical breakthroughs in our small businesses and aligns with our state’s strength of excellence in science and technology.by