The Puerto Rico Small Business and Technology Development Centers (SBTDC) of the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico and the US Small Business Administration announced the launch of the PRidea program to boost the number of local inventors who can prepare effective proposals for federal funds that subsidize their ideas.
The initiative seeks to train, advise, and encourage with seed capital, nonprofit officials said.
“Since we’re convinced that in Puerto Rico exist many creative and technological people, we structured a program to foster inventors to have the opportunity to explore and submit the commercialization potential of their ideas and products,” said SBTDC Executive Director Ricardo Martínez, who added that the program arises as an effort to get more SBIR/STTR (Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer) proposals submitted from Puerto Rico.
There are 14 federal agencies that receive funding to subsidize research and commercialization of ideas. These agencies are the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Energy, the US Department of Health, the US National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, the US Department of Agriculture, the US Department of Commerce, NOAA, NIST, the US Department of Education, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Homeland Security, and the US Department of Transportation.
“The goal of the university is to maximize the innovative potential of students, entrepreneurs, scientists, programmers and academics. At the InterAmerican University we offer the opportunity to get the help from the experts, or resources that can assist in the development of proposals to have more probabilities to obtain funds for the commercialization process” Manuel J. Fernós, president of the university, said.
The PRidea program has four phases. In the first phase, 60 inventors will get the training on the SBIR and STTR programs, and on how to protect their idea or product, also how a federal proposal should be prepared. From this group, 20 participants will be selected for a second phase to receive technical consulting and mentoring for the commercialization proposal.
In the third phase, fifteen candidates will be selected to refine their proposal and strategies to present the idea (Elevator Pitch) to a panel composed of angel investors, entrepreneurs, and representatives of the academia and local agencies.
In phase four, they will participate in a competition where the best 4 ideas will be chosen for a grant of $5,000 in seed capital that can be used to develop SBIR/STTR proposals or patent.
Those interested in participating in this program must do so online. The deadline to apply to this program is Jan. 31, 2022. The eligibility criteria are: being over 21 years, live in Puerto Rico and have US citizenship, have an innovative idea or product and availability of time to receive training.