Weekly Feature

2018-04-11 / Business

Technical assistance funding secured for small businesses

The passage of a state budget initiative and funding will provide much-needed technical assistance for small businesses in Western New York; restore the amount of state aid UB’s Centers for Excellence will receive; and benefit organizations that provide innovative, technological ideas to allow businesses to remain on the cutting edge of economic growth, according to Assemblyman Robin Schimminger.

These items were included in the final version of the 2018-19 New York State budget.

A newly announced initiative to invest $500,000 in a state Small Business Innovation Research program was based on a bill Schimminger sponsored. It will allow small businesses to access technical assistance aimed at helping them win federal SBIR grants.

The federal SBIR program gives small domestic companies the opportunity to compete for grants for federal contracts, to be used toward innovative products and processes.

“For small business owners with 100 or fewer employees, being able to use technology to one’s advantage while keeping costs manageable is of utmost importance in staying afloat in a competitive marketplace,” Schimminger said. “This program is essential to ensuring businesses receive assistance with grant writing, outreach and other means of support.”

Additionally, Schimminger announced the restoration of funding for 11 Centers of Excellence in the state, including two at the University at Buffalo. The state budget provides a total of $1 million in funding to UB’s CoE in Materials Informatics, which Schimminger helped establish in 2012, and another $1 million for its CoE in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

Initially, each CoE was slated to receive $872,333 under the governor’s proposed state budget, but this addition by the Legislature will restore funding to 2017-18 budget levels.

Technology Development Organizations, also known as Regional Technology Development Centers, will also see a restoration of funding to 2017-18 levels. These nonprofit entities work with businesses to come up with solutions that reduce costs, boost revenue and ultimately increase bottom lines to help them stay viable and ensure a strong future.

Western New York’s regional TDO, Insyte Consulting, was among those that saw their state funding reduced two years ago by Empire State Development, which instead redirected funding for the Manufacturing Extension Program, administered by the TDOs, to a new statewide program.

“The $609,000 we’ve again been able to restore in the final budget will bring Insyte Consulting and other TDOs back to levels of funding they received in last year’s budget,” Schimminger said.

“As the chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Economic Development, Commerce, Industry and Job Creation, it is one of my highest priorities to ensure that local companies in high-tech industries can keep offering jobs and keep people here in Western New York. I am pleased to announce this initiative to encourage businesses to provide these opportunities for advancement for our area’s residents.”

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