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September 15, 2021 | Tom Ballard

LaunchTN announces recipients of SBIR/STTR matching grants including 23 from East Tennessee

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

Launch Tennessee has announced the recipients of this year’s “Tennessee Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Matching Fund Grant Program,” with companies in East Tennessee taking a little more than half of the allotted $7 million.

The program was cut from the state budget in FY2020-21 due to financial uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications were reopened in July of this year after the program was restored—and even increased—into the 2021-2022 state budget by the Tennessee General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Bill Lee.

Over the past week, Abby Trotter, Interim Chief Executive of LaunchTN, and other staff travelled to several communities to make ceremonial check presentations. You can find photos from those, including last Friday at the weekly meeting of the East Tennessee Economic Council, at this link.

The increased funding meant that LaunchTN could more than double the number of recipients of the fund. In 2019, the last time funds were distributed, 12 companies received a total of $1.5 million. Read more in this article. This year, 23 companies in East Tennessee alone received funding through the program, with 19 of them in the Knoxville area.

The 23 Eastern Tennessee companies received more than $11.8 million through federal SBIR/STTR funding. Launch was able to match these companies with an additional $3.9 million.

Notably, nine of this year’s recipients are alums or current innovators participating in the “Innovation Crossroads” program. Others, such as Winter Innovations and NellOne Therapeutics, will be familiar to readers from our past coverage.

East Tennessee recipients of the funding are as follows in alphabetical order:

Prior to this year, the matching program had awarded 24 companies with $3 million in funding. Since launching in 2017, it has enabled start-ups to buy equipment or create full-time positions to help companies grow.

Before the funds were restored to the budget, a few local start-ups spoke to about the importance of the program, and how the funding helped their businesses. Two even cited the program as a reason their business operates in Tennessee. Read more in this article.

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