RALEIGH, N.C. — Sixteen emerging companies in North Carolina, including 12 from in and around the Research Triangle, are the first recipients of grants from the State of North Carolina's new innovation grant program.
The companies all had already received government funds in order to receive a match from the state as inaugurated under the One North Carolina Small Business Fund. Many of the grants are for military related research.
Governor Mike Easley announced the grants, which total almost $700,000, on Monday. Under the first year of the program as approved by the state's General Assembly, $1 million in grants was available.
Easley is seeking $5 million for the program in the next fiscal year budget now being debated at the General Assembly.
"This is great news," said Jim Rapp, director of communications for the North Carolina Technology Association, which has been a strong advocate for the grants program. "Many of our members are small companies, and this program will definitely help them succeed in growing their companies in North Carolina."
The One North Carolina Small Business Fund is an attempt to make more funding available for emerging companies. A shortage of venture capital for startups and early-stage companies has been cited in the past by entrepreneurial groups as a limiting factor on the numbers and the growth of new firms.
The grants were awarded through the governor's office for Science and Technology. The funds are to be used for research and development.
"These grants enable North Carolina's small businesses to conduct the research and technology development that will generate the kinds of innovation critical to the future growth of our state's economy," Easley said in a statement. "The One North Carolina Small Business Fund helps further position North Carolina as the nation's top entrepreneurial state and as a leader in the global marketplace. This program is just one more reason that our state is ranked No.1 for business climate."
To be eligible for a state grant, a company must have already received a Small Business Innovation Research or a Small Business Technology Transfer award from the federal government. The state can match up to half of a federal grant to a maximum of $50,000.
The first grants, with company and project descriptions provided by the Governor's office, went to:
3F of Apex: $50,000 to develop a small, lightweight device that would help parachutists extricate themselves from their harness during an emergency. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.
Advanced Liquid Logic Inc. of Research Triangle Park: $34,782 to develop a digital microfluidic lab-on-a-microchip to perform a broad spectrum of automated diagnostic tests on minute-sized samples. The project is sponsored by NASA.
Alderon Biosciences of Durham: $50,000 to develop inexpensive sensors and instruments for use in poor regions of the world to provide better and low-cost ways to determine HIV viral load, which is an important indicator of the severity of infection and helps in determining the therapies for HIV-infected persons. The project is sponsored by the National Institutes for Health.
CryoFacets of Raleigh: $49,998 for a program to develop a system to collect single cell types for a variety of clinical applications, such as transfusion medicine, vaccine development, tissue culture, and pathogen detection, in a single processing step. The project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
Eno River Labs of Durham: $34,868 to develop an on-site testing kit for land that may be contaminated by dioxins, which would allow for more cost-effective cleanup strategies. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Firebird Advanced Materials of Raleigh: $49,947 for a project sponsored by the U.S. Air Force on methods of recycling carbon fiber reinforced plastic, a strong, light and very expensive composite material that has many uses in the aerospace and automotive industries. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.
Foard Systems Design, Inc. of Durham: $34,995 to develop an automated system to isolate equipment during maintenance to enhance the safety of personnel, equipment and ships. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Navy.
Kyma Technologies of Raleigh: $50,000 to develop improved components for the new generation of X-band radar. The project is sponsored by the federal Missile Defense Agency.
MicroPhase Coatings Inc. of Garner: $34,987 to develop an improved, more efficient fuel bladder for satellite and space vehicles. The project is sponsored by NASA.
NanotechLabs of Yadkinville: $49,990 to incorporate carbon nanotubes into the next generation of Electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielded electronic enclosures. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.
Nekton Research of Durham: $34,999 for a program involving underwater robotic technology for the Department of Defense and other customers. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Navy.
OpSource of Charlotte: $49,949 to develop a new stress-resistant machining technology. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.
Phase Bioscience of Durham: $50,000 for a program using biosynthetic methods to enable the development of new medicines more rapidly and at significantly lower cost. The project is sponsored by the National Institutes for Health.
Religent of Morrisville: $21,742 to produce standards-based Web service tools for making clinical decisions more available and more usable to improve patient care, reduce medical errors and lower healthcare costs. The program is in collaboration with Duke University.
Vascular Pharmaceuticals of Burlington: $50,000 to develop a drug to treat atherosclerosis in patients with diabetes. The program is in collaboration with the University of North Carolina.
Vortant Technologies of Weaverville: $49,531 to develop a cost-effective, unobtrusive "point and click" telephone system for individuals with disabilities that prevent them from using a standard computer keyboard and mouse. The program is sponsored by the National Institutes for Health.
For more information about the One North Carolina Small Business Fund, how to apply and qualify for the grants, see the
N.C. Science and Technology