Tech transfer key to innovation, opportunities for P.R.’s business sector
Global competition is exceedingly moving companies that want to continue developing need to improve and diversify their product and service offerings. To achieve that, it makes sense to invest time and effort to stay current.
Such were some of the conclusions of a roundtable headed by the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension (PRiMEX) ahead of the SBIR Road Tour to be held Nov. 14-15.
“The advancement of technology requires constant investment of time and effort to stay current. Constant innovation is an essential part of the strategies that our companies and entrepreneurs need to stay competitive,” said Science Trust CEO Lucy Crespo.
Crespo said that these activities reinforce the mission of the Trust to invest in research and commercialization of technology.
“We want more and more entrepreneurs and researchers to be able to bring these federal opportunities together and their research will become projects for the well-being of all citizens,” she said, during the discussion of the economic impact on the island through the promotion of innovation and business with the creation and transfer of technology.
PRiMEX Executive Director Migdalia Rosado said as part of the SBIR Tour, the U.S. Small Business Administration with 12 federal agencies are visiting 16 cities in the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.
For the first time, these federal agencies will hold the event in Puerto Rico where they will discuss what opportunities there are for Puerto Rican companies on issues related to technology transfer and how to request funds to create new companies.
The first event entitled Transfer of technology in Puerto Rico to be held Nov. 14, focused on the discussion on how technology, patents and knowledge is achieved, to local manufacturing. On Nov. 15, the SBIR Tour will emphasize how to request and achieve project financing through the SBIR and STTR mechanism.
The agencies that will participate are: Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of National Security, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce — National Oceanic Administration and Atmospheric, Department of Commerce — National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, FDA, USDA and Veterans Affairs.
In the event, entrepreneurs will learn about the support infrastructure they can receive from both federal and local institutions. They can also learn how innovative ideas can be developed to develop the feasibility and commercial potential without losing equity in the company. They can also meet first-hand entrepreneurs who have used existing programs successfully.
“Many small businesses seek to add new products or services to their business offer, or improve those they already have, based on new and high-impact technologies. The SBIR and STTR programs are based on federal grants that support innovative small businesses, researchers and inventors so they can market their technologies and compete at the same level as large companies,” said SBA District Director, Yvette T. Collazo.
“The technology events and the SBIR Road Tour seek to connect these groups with national directors of SBIR and STTR to help small businesses focused on research can improve their competitive advantage and contribute to job creation and economic development of the nation,” she added.
In Puerto Rico, business talent that is creative and with the support of institutions and initiatives such as SBA and FCTIPR, among others, provides the necessary support for all stages of the process.
From the identification of the potential product, “matchmaking” with collaborators or potential investors, protection of intellectual property, review of proposals, development of business plan, and matching of funds, the success of the applicants can be assured even of those with little experience.
Manuel Laboy, secretary of Economic Development and Commerce said, “aware of the importance of the implementation of technology and innovation to improve the economic growth of Puerto Rico, in our agency we promote several initiatives to the development of emerging sectors.”
He mentioned the Innovative SME program, the Government Betting Commission Act, the Collaborative Economics Act, and the new Puerto Rico Incentives Code, among others.
“Through them we encourage new economic sectors to develop generating jobs and investment, to make Puerto Rico a cutting-edge jurisdiction while benefiting the local economy,” he said.