SBIR grants helping several southeastern Wisconsin businesses commercialize their inventions

The COnovate team. Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska and Carol Hirschmugl (Photo: Derek Rickert, UWM Photo Services)

Five area businesses have received grants to help them commercialize their products through SBIR Advance’s latest funding round.

The state matching grant program provides assistance to companies in the process of completing a project in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Phase 1 recipients, who are each receiving up to a $75,000 matching grant, include:

  • Wauwatosa-based Cell Reprogramming & Therapeutics, LLC. This company is is focused on the development and commercialization of cell-based technologies to target diseases of the central nervous system.
  • Shorewood-based COnovate. COnovate is the developer of a new advanced composite material for lithium-ion battery anodes. The company also recently secured $1 million in SAFE funding.
  • Wales-based Igneous IP Holdings LLC. This company is a fast-paced additive manufacturing startup that created PrintFoam. The company spun out of MIT in 2016 with the aim to create lighter and less expensive 3D printed parts by leveraging the power of foamed materials.
  • Milwaukee-based Ubitrix International. Ubitrix is developing a framework that will analyze mHealth apps for security and privacy compliance, pinpoint weaknesses and vulnerabilities in these apps, and make recommendations for enhancement and revisions.

There is also one Phase 2 matching grant recipient from Southeastern Wisconsin that is receiving up to $100,000: Milwaukee-based Rapid Radicals Technology. Rapid Radicals has developed a rapid, de-centralized wastewater treatment system that can treat water 16 times faster than conventional treatment. The company recently won the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

“Innovation is part of Wisconsin’s DNA as a state. People are always looking for new ways of doing things or doing things better,” said Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which helps run the grant program. “The SBIR Advance program captures that spirit and gives some of Wisconsin’s most technically exciting young companies the boost they need to get to the next level. We have seen the results of this important program in bridging the gap from innovation to customers, investors, and success for Wisconsin.”

The U.S. government created SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, providing $4.2 billion in federal research funding in 2021. Because those funds cannot be used for commercialization activities, the SBIR Advance program fills the gap. Funds can be used to pursue market research, customer validation, intellectual property work or other areas that speed commercialization.

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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