Business Oregon and the Oregon Innovation Council are working with 12 companies, including CEL, to help them leverage the federal grant funding they received.
Many agencies within the federal government offer Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants. These two grants are designed to stimulate technological innovation. They also provide opportunities for small businesses to conduct research and development with commercialization potential. This funding does not dilute business ownership, preserving control and flexibility for entrepreneurs. Therefore, these grants, known as "America's largest seed fund," are highly beneficial to companies looking to get off the ground.
However, SBIR and STTR grants leave gaps in areas critical to getting early-stage companies to the point of producing revenue and becoming viable businesses. SBIR funding, for example, helps develop a product but can’t fund many critical elements to create and scale a business. To address these gaps and increase the business’s chances of success, Business Oregon offers matching grants that complement the federal program. The grant is available to any Oregon company that has received SBIR or STTR funding. In 2020, companies in Oregon won nearly $45 million in SBIR/STTR funding.
Business Oregon’s funds also help position recipients for future fundraising and growth after the federal grants run out. These matching grants can fund expenses that help a company stay and grow in Oregon, such as business plan development, facilities, testing equipment, production equipment, intellectual property protection, product marketing, business consulting, and more.
Business Oregon funds are awarded in several phases to support the changing needs of companies as they take steps forward in building their businesses and products. Phase I matching grants provide up to $50,000 to help very early-stage companies do feasibility studies on new technologies. Phase II grants build on Phase I work to help companies develop commercially ready prototypes to test with customers. The Phase II matching grants provide up to $100,000.
CEL is one of 12 winners of the Phase 1 matching grant from Business Oregon and the Oregon Innovation Council. With this grant, CEL will be able to leverage and optimize the SBIR funding the company recently received. CEL's Phase 1 Business Oregon grant will support its building automation platform. Specifically, this grant will fund IP protection, usability improvements, and cost modeling for municipal and school building energy control and efficiency system.