Wednesday, July 17, 2024

5 Cape Fear companies earn state funding for tech development

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Five small businesses located in the Cape Fear region were awarded state grants to develop new technologies.

Included in the recipients of the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology, and Innovation awarded were four small technology businesses in Wilmington and one from Leland. This year the board enacted specific criteria for the One North Carolina Small Business Program to create a larger, more geographically diverse cohort and to direct greater funding to first-time awardees.

In North Carolina fiscal year 2023, the program awarded more than $2 million to small businesses in 19 counties across the state.

“Investment in early-stage technology companies pays off in good-paying jobs, a strong innovation economy, and products that make our world a better place,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release. “These innovative small businesses are tackling society’s most pressing challenges in the life sciences, defense, agriculture, and clean energy. Innovative small companies drive growth and competition and help make our state the number one place to do business.”

Since 2006 the One North Carolina Small Business Program has awarded state-funded grants to help more than 430 small businesses that apply for and win competitive federal grants from two programs: Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer. The federal programs are the largest supporter of technology development with an end goal of commercialization and economic sustainability — bringing to market hundreds of new products.

Incentive funds provide reimbursement for expenses incurred by companies when applying to the federal grants and matching funds offers the same amount in state funds earned by the federal dollars.

In fiscal year 2022, the two federal programs awarded $4.4 billion nationwide.

Announced Thursday, Om Bharti, LLC of Wilmington was awarded $69,898 to create a machine-learning software to integrate and analyze large sets of biological data to expedite research, development, industrialization, and optimization.

Raglan, LLC of Wilmington received $24,985 to integrate battery optimization technology to improve performance of electric vehicles. Raglan also was awarded $4,885 in incentive funds.

Innovative Viral Solutions received $275 and Vidterra of Wilmington was given $12,000 in incentive money.

According to a press release, the “program’s grants fill a key gap in North Carolina’s innovation ecosystem.” It also helps ensure small businesses can navigate the early stages of company growth and shorten the time needed to develop a concept into a sustainable long-term business model.

“Many recipient companies commend the One North Carolina Small Business Program as the vital injection of capital they needed to put their companies on a successful trajectory,” the release states.

More than 1,200 jobs have been created since the program’s inception and created more than $1.6 billion in sales and licenses.

“Since 2019, the Board has pursued an agenda for advancing more technological innovation statewide, and that focus is bearing fruit in more cities and counties as a result,” Janet Cowell, Chair of the N.C. Board of Science, Technology & Innovation, said in a release. “Continued and increased funding for the Program will further increase and expand those benefits.”

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