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New Statewide Program and Partnership Announced



            IDAHO FALLS, ID -- (May 18, 2021) – Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI) announces the roll-out of a new program – Elevate Idaho - in partnership with the Idaho Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the Idaho Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 

“Elevate Idaho was developed to launch the Idaho SBIR/STTR Virtual Innovation Center, a statewide program to connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need to take their ventures to the next level of success”, stated Teresa McKnight, CEO of REDI.  McKnight goes on to say, “Under the Elevate Idaho Program, statewide leaders work together to provide a strong network of expertise and mentors – all working hand-in-hand to bring together the resources required to strengthen successful growth of research and entrepreneurial activities across the State of Idaho.” 

“The Center will include training and educational workshops, one-on-one consulting, writing assistance, proposal review, assistance with strategic commercialization planning, and real-time collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators, start-ups, and tech-based economic development partners from across Idaho – all in a virtual environment”, stated Lori Manning, Program Director of the Idaho PTAC Center. 

The Center will also provide the means to open up collaboration opportunities that would not otherwise have taken place, and most important, strengthen Idaho’s regional and statewide entrepreneurial and research ecosystem.

“This unique partnership was formed with the common goal for innovation in the state of Idaho that provides businesses new opportunities.  That opportunity starts with access to different types of funding mechanisms, such as non-dilutive federal funding through the SBIR/STTR grant program”, stated Tom Kealey, Director of Idaho Commerce.  Kealey goes on to say, “Idaho is the best place to build a business and be part of a great entrepreneurial community that enjoys a quality of life that is second to none.”

Statewide partnership leaders include: Teresa McKnight, CEO of Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI); Lori Manning, Program Director of the Idaho Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC); David Noack, Region VI Director of the Idaho Small Business Development Center (SBDC); Tom Kealey, Director of the Idaho Commerce Office and Carman Achabal, Program Manager of iGEM - Idaho Commerce Office; Jeremy Tamsen, Director of the University of Idaho Technology Transfer Office; Katy Weiser, Director of the Boise State University Technology Transfer Office; Donna Lybecker, Acting Vice President for Research at Idaho State University and Steve Wright, ISU Sponsored Programs Specialist; Jason Stolworthy, Director of the Idaho National Laboratory Tech Deployment Office; Doug Covey, Director of the State SBDC Office; and Tiam Rastegar, Executive Director of Trailhead in Boise.


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  • Elevate Idaho is a statewide Partnership that has pulled resources together to provide information and guidance to those interested in learning more about the SBIR/STTR Grant Program. Leadership walks clients through the starting stages of a SBIR/STTR grant proposal to application submission. The statewide partnership has a vested stake in the entire process, most important, partners seek to create an environment that fosters growth of R&D, and startups, vital pieces that play a role in transforming communities, regions, and states.
  • States with successful SBIR/STTR Programs have strong entrepreneurial outreach ecosystems established through unique partnerships – partnerships that involve multiple organizations with strong economic development experience, federal program and grant expertise, and entrepreneurial know-how. Idaho is currently in last place in the Rockies States when it comes to SBIR/STTR Grants submitted, and funded, in comparison to other states in the Rockies like Utah (1st place), Montana (2nd place) and Wyoming (3rd place).  To change the lag in SBIR/STTR activities, a new program was formed – Elevate Idaho – to bring together statewide partners to provide the resources required to build a robust SBIR/STTR Program in Idaho. 
  • Update: We are already seeing an increase of SBIR Grant Applications since the formation of this new program in the first quarter of 2021.



  • The SBIR/STTR award programs are highly competitive grants offered to American businesses to promote research and Development (R&D) with the hopes of commercialization and state economic impact. The grants are competitive and promote the incentive of developing a technological idea with the hopes of making profit through commercialization. This program is seeking to undergird scientific excellence and technological innovation. Through supporting the small businesses and inventors, the federal government is promoting the entrepreneurial spirit that has made the United States so advanced and bridge the gap between science and technology to world-wide application and commercialization.



  • How does the SBIR/STTR make an impact? The impact comes from the support of R&D money to promote and increase the opportunities of a technological advancement. The SBIR/STTR grant program allows young businesses access to non-dilutive R&D funding, which the successful award advances the commercialization of new technologies, which in turn provides a strong economic multiplier and great return on investment. In turn, state economies are bolstered, the innovator is rewarded, and the commercialization of new technologies creates high-tech jobs, wages, and tax dollars get re-invested back into the economy.

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