Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Small Business Innovation Research National Conference Set for November in OKC

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Small Business Innovation Research National Conference Set for November in OKC

Article excerpt

Sherry Roberts is preparing for a big turnout at the Small Business Innovation Research National Conference next month, particularly a lot of young companies.

The Nov. 8-10 event is an opportunity for small, high-tech businesses to connect with government agency officials and their peers to secure federal funds and assistance for research and potential commercialization. The scheduled technology and industry program tracks offered at the Cox Convention Center will focus on aerospace, biotechnology, energy, information technology and nanotechnology, said Roberts, SBIR event spokeswoman and organizer.

One of the criticisms of the SBIR program has been that there aren't more young, innovative companies involved, Roberts said. Of the more than 500 individuals, agencies and companies attending, a large percentage will be entry-level entrepreneurs, she said.

"It's a moving target," she said. "The business-minded students and other people who would be interested in applying in this kind of funding might not know it's available. Our agencies do what they can, but it's a matter of getting the word to the right people. So we've also been working on bringing in training and more outreach."

The federal agencies working through the SBIR have more than $2 billion in research funds available, Roberts said.

Selexys Pharmaceuticals and its Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park neighbor Charlesson LLC could be considered role models for the SBIR program. Selexys' research and development work on sickle cell and Crohn's diseases was backed by virtually no private equity funding. …

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