Planting the Seeds of Innovation: EPA Awards Contracts to 13 Small Businesses to Support Environmental Research

By Jim Johnson

We’ve all heard stories of how some of today’s biggest and most lucrative companies got their start in someone’s garage. With little more than the seeds of an idea and a passion to innovate, these small businesses grew to be classic examples of the American dream in action.

SBIR graphic identifierEPA is taking steps to help sow similar seeds in today’s fledgling startups, and advance environmental sustainability in ways that will boost prosperity nation-wide. EPA supports small businesses to develop innovative technologies through participation in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, awarding contracts to help science and technology-based firms develop and commercialize environmental technologies.

Now 13 companies have the opportunity to grow their own innovations with the help of contracts from EPA’s 2016 SBIR Phase I Solicitation. Each of these small businesses received funding of up to $100,000 to support six months of research for advancing a “proof of concept” for their proposed sustainable technology. This year’s recipients will develop solutions to a wide range of current environmental challenges, ranging from greener manufacturing of plastics to low-cost air sensors. The companies are eligible to apply for up to $300,000 of additional funding to further develop and commercialize their technologies through future SBIR Phase II Awards.

I am deeply excited by the potential exhibited by these small businesses, and I look forward to seeing the innovative environmental technologies that they are able to develop with their SBIR Phase I contracts. The seeds for the next revolutionary technologies are all around us – with a little help, they can grow into the environmental breakthrough of tomorrow.

About the Author: Dr. James H. Johnson Jr. is the Director of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research.

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