Ottawa County hosting a seminar to inform entrepreneurs and small businesses about federal funds that are available for technology-related business ideas

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Each year, Congress funds the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs to support the research and development of new technology-related products or innovative new services. These programs are the federal government’s largest small business research and development (R&D) grant programs with over $2 billion being awarded to entrepreneurs and small businesses annually. Over $1 million can be awarded per business to develop new technology ideas.

The Ottawa County Planning Commission is hosting a seminar to inform entrepreneurs and small business owners about the availability of these funds which will include a review of the following: eligibility requirements, strategies for developing a successful grant proposal, recent congressional changes to the SBIR and STTR Programs, and resources available in Michigan to help entrepreneurs and businesses prepare a SBIR/STTR application.

The seminar integrates with Ottawa County’s current effort to study the feasibility of establishing a business incubator to provide mentoring, training, facilities, and other forms of assistance to entrepreneurs who have new business ideas. A business incubator helps improve the long-term survival rates of new businesses when compared to other business start-ups that do not receive incubator assistance. Ottawa County’s incubator would specifically target entrepreneurs who have technology-related business ideas that are focused on one of the County’s greatest strengths – Agriculture.

This seminar will focus primarily on grants that are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for entrepreneurs and small businesses with an agriculture-related technology idea. However, information will also be presented on all 11 federal agencies that distribute SBIR and STTR grants. The seminar will be conducted by Jim Greenwood, a nationally recognized expert in the SBIRSTTR Programs. Other program experts will also be in attendance to answer questions about any of the 11 federally funded programs and provide direction about future grant applications.

The seminar will be held on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 from 4:30 pm - 9:00 pm at the Hemlock Crossing Nature Education Center located at 8115 West Olive Road, West Olive, MI 49460. The cost for the training is $10/person which includes a box-meal. Space is limited so pre-registration is required. Registrations must be received no later than Thursday, August 2, 2012.

For more information about the seminar, or to obtain a Registration Form, contact the Ottawa County Planning Department either by phone at 616-738-4852 or by email at Participants can also register and pay online at

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