UNR-based tech accelerator program to expand statewide | nnbw.com
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UNR-based tech accelerator program to expand statewide

NNBW staff report

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced recently it’s expanding a Northern Nevada-based program “to help technology entrepreneurs earn federal grant funding to support early-stage development of their businesses or innovations” throughout the state.

Initially funded through the Federal And State Technology Partnership (FAST) at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2019, the Sierra Accelerator for Growth and Entrepreneurship (SAGE) program is being continued at UNR and expanded to Southern Nevada via UNLV with support from the GOED Knowledge Fund, according to a Nov. 12 press release from the state.

“At a critical moment for small technology-based businesses in our state, the Knowledge Fund has identified the SAGE program as an ideal partner to substantially improve small technology-based businesses’ access to federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant opportunities,” Michael Brown, GOED Executive Director, said in a statement. “GOED has worked with UNR and UNLV to create a statewide SBIR/STTR support structure by leveraging the recently established SAGE program by further developing its effort and impact as well as broadening its reach.”



Known as “America’s Seed Fund,” the SBIR and STTR programs offer Phase 1 grants of up to $225,000 and Phase 2 grants of up to $750,000.

“Supporting small technology-based businesses is currently more important than ever for high paying job creation in our state,” Nevada Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Knowledge Fund for maintaining and expanding the SAGE program thereby providing countless small technology-based businesses in Nevada with the necessary support to decisively increase their chances of obtaining federal SBIR/STTR grants which have proven to be crucial funding mechanisms for enabling fast business up-scaling and job creation.”



According to GOED, SAGE begins by helping determine if an idea or business qualifies for the SBIR and STTR programs. SAGE then helps its participants determine the right agency to apply to, map a strategy, write the best possible proposal, and navigate the federal grant submission system.

SAGE facilitated in partnership with APIOiX, an innovation-ecosystem development consultancy based in Portland, Oregon.

In its first 8-plus months of operation, more than 100 people have attended SAGE North trainings, according to GOED. SAGE has worked with more than 30 companies or entrepreneurs and 12 SBIR and STTR proposals have been submitted.

SAGE is open to all qualified Nevada technology-based small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. 

Additionally, as part of SAGE’s ongoing information series, “SAGE Advice,” free informational webinars are being offered on Dec. 1-3. For more information or to register, visit the SAGE events web page.

Go to unr.edu/sage to learn more and to learn about submitting your business concept.


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