Innovate Alabama will open applications for the third round of the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program on Thursday, June 1. Recipients of Phase I and Phase II Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants are once again eligible to apply for up to $250,000 in supplemental funding from Innovate Alabama.
The grant program supports Alabama entrepreneurs and innovators, and the funding will bridge the gap between eligible, deserving small businesses and the resources they need to thrive. The grants will boost Alabama’s economy through job growth, community development and a workforce that signals to entrepreneurs around the country that Alabama is a good place to grow their businesses as well. Previous recipients include aerospace technology companies, artificial intelligence pioneers and government contractors.
“We’ve already witnessed incredible results from our first two rounds of supplemental grant funding, and I’m eager to see what impact we can have with this third round,” said Cynthia Crutchfield, Innovate Alabama CEO. “Alabama has a long history of innovation, from the early days of the steel industry to the Saturn V rocket. Through this funding, we are excited to build on that history with new, innovative companies growing within our great state, and more coming every day. I believe everyone will soon see, as Governor Ivey said in her 2023 State of the State address, ‘There is no place like Sweet Home Alabama!’”
In July 2022, Innovate Alabama launched the inaugural Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program, and in total to date has awarded over $7.6 million in supplemental funding to 44 grant recipients in nine Alabama cities to support the growth of their small businesses. This includes 12 minority- and women-owned small businesses. Innovate Alabama expects the program to continue through next year and beyond, and fourth-round funding is anticipated to take place in early 2024.
“Thanks to the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant, we are able to hire more people, bring higher-paying jobs to Birmingham and continue to make a difference in safety,” said Thomas Anthony, co-founder of AnalyticalAI, a Birmingham-based second-round grant recipient focused on using artificial intelligence (AI) to make air travel safer.
Last month, Governor Ivey signed “The Game Plan” into law, a package of bills aimed at improving Alabama’s economic benefits, including reforms to the SBIR residency requirements for the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program. Before, businesses interested in applying for SBIR grants had to have at least one of their top executives and 75 percent of their employees residing in Alabama when applying. This new legislation has loosened the restriction, allowing applicants a 12-month window after receiving grant funds to relocate to Alabama and fulfill the other residency requirements.
Eligible applicants must have had an active Phase I or Phase II SBIR or STTR grant on July 1, 2021, or later. Phase I recipients are eligible to apply for 50 percent of their award up to $100,000, and Phase II recipients are eligible to apply for 50 percent of their award up to $250,000. Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program awards are non-dilutive, meaning businesses will not have to give up shares of the company to receive funding.
“It’s been incredible to see the impact the Innovate Alabama Supplemental Grant Program has already had on so many Alabama businesses. By investing in start-ups with unique technology like these, our state is able to compete on a national and global scale,” said Dr. Michael Chambers, associate vice president for research at the University of South Alabama and Innovate Alabama board member. “As Innovate Alabama continues to help innovators grow roots right here in Alabama, we hope to continue expanding the grant program’s reach to support more entrepreneurs.”
The application for the third round of funding will open on Thursday, June 1. The portal to submit applications will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Award notifications for the third round of funding begin in early August.
For companies interested in applying for a federal SBIR/STTR grant, Innovate Alabama will co-host a virtual webinar with BIO Alabama on May 23 and 24. The free workshop will provide consultations to small business owners and university inventors looking to apply for federal funding, and it will feature leaders from Greenwood Consulting Group, the NIH, EPA, NSF and other invited federal agencies for breakout sessions and individual consulting with attendees.
To learn more and apply, visit innovatealabama.org/programs.