Category Archives: Innovation

VentureWell June Events & Opportunities

Welcome to the June events and opportunities newsletter! Enjoy!

Open 2018 Conference– Have you attended our Open annual conference? We invite you to submit a proposal. Save the date, call for proposals will open in July.

E-Team Program Our E-Team program provides early-stage funding of up to $25,000 and cultivates opportunities for student STEM inventors and innovators to move ideas out of the lab and into the market. Applications are due October 4th. Informational webinars are August 17th and September 6th

Other Community Events and Funding Opportunities

Center for Device Innovation QuickFire ChallengeThe CDI @ TMC QuickFire Challenge is a device-focused challenge aimed at game-changing early-stage medical device innovations across strategic areas of interest for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices, with an emphasis on Surgical Oncology and/or Obesity. Application deadline is June 28th.

Verge Accelerate– A fast pitch competition for early stage entrepreneurs developing innovative tech in energy, transportation, buildings, infrastructure, urban resilience or the circular economy. Application deadline is July 7, 2017.

Success Factors for University Partnerships Seminar– Successful collaboration between universities and companies is essential for innovation. In this MIT Lab for Innovation Science and Policy Impact Seminar, learn the five success factors for university partnerships based on a multi-year research project and forthcoming book where 10 leading companies share how they strive for excellence in university/industry collaboration. The event takes places on June 29, 2017.

MD5 Hacking Emergency Response– Developers. Designers. Engineers. Come to a three-day hackathon to build product prototypes that incorporate functional fabrics as part of a system that addresses emergency response in challenging environments. Winning teams will be awarded up to $15,000 to further develop their ideas. Free and open to the public. The event takes place July 28-30, 2017.

ISAM 2017– The International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces joins the people, knowledge, and inspiration that fuse to catalyze higher education makerspaces and maximize their impact on student learning experiences and alumni success. ISAM fosters community, networking, interaction and learning between people who are passionate about making. Register before June 30th to receive the early bird rate. The event takes place September 24-27, 2017.

Other News 

Sintact Medical Systems, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 2 grant worth approximately $750,000.

AgroSpheres, won the Kirchner Food Fellows Award for the most investable company and the Overall Runner Up Award at the Thought For Food Global Summit.

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SBDCs Business Workshops for Busy Entrepreneurs

Writing a Business Plan Webinar
Tuesday, June 27th 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
A well-developed business plan is the foundation of an entrepreneur’s success. This webinar covers business planning in detail and is designed for individuals who want to launch or grow their business.
Marketing Tactics: Referral Building, Partnership Marketing, and Social Media
Thursday, June 29th 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Learn how to make the most of referral building, partnership marketing, and social media in your small business’s marketing strategy. This webinar will take a tactical approach to these marketing methods so that you can be intentional about leveraging word-of-mouth and social media marketing.
Launch Your Business
with the Michigan SBDC!
No matter where you’re located, an SBDC consultant is available to help you start your business!

HHS Releases FY2017 SBIR/STTR Omnibus Grant Solicitations

The Omnibus solicitation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been released with submission dates of September 5, 2017 and January 5, 2018. The solicitation is for both SBIR and STTR applications for NIH, and SBIR proposals for CDC and the FDA.

Access the Funding Opportunity Announcements here:


Department of Defense SBIR/STTR Proposals are due: June 21, 2017 @ 8:00 p.m. ET
Access the BAAs

Midwest SBIR Road Tour

Midwest SBIR Road Tour – Register Today!

America’s Seed Fund annually provides approximately $2.5 billion in non-dilutive early-stage technology funding. The Midwest SBIR Road Tour is an opportunity for tech startups, innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers to learn how to access this funding, meet one-on-one with decision makers, and connect with local state innovation ecosystem members. These one-day events will provide attendees, including women and minority entrepreneurs, the opportunity to engage with representatives from SBIR/STTR agencies.

SBIR at Biotechnology Innovation Organization Conference

SBIR @ 2017 BIO International Convention
San Diego, CA – June 19  – 22, 2017

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR programs have partnered with the 2017 BIO International Convention to showcase 70+ SBIR funded early-stage biotech companies in the BIO Innovation Zone. Make sure to visit the Innovation Zone at booth 5607.


NIH Panel Session: The Changing Landscape for Funding Small Biotech Businesses: Benefits and Returns for Leveraging Federal Resources with Private Funding
Date: Monday, June 19, 2017 1:00 PM
Location: Room 8
Matthew Portnoy, Director, NIH SBIR
Christie Canaria, Program Director, NCI SBIR Development Center
Sam Mazin, Co-founder, RefleXion Medical
Ari Nowacek, Principal, ARCH Venture Partners


SBA Panel Session: Invest in Diversity to Drive Innovation
Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 10:45 AM
Location: Room 2, Upper level
Moderator: Jennifer Shieh, PhD, Chief Scientist, Small Business Administration
Description: Join Dr. Shieh as she moderates a panel focusing on why Diversity is critical to innovation. The session will connect individuals and organizations with a common goal to innovate around the challenge of building a more inclusive biomedical ecosystem as well as hear about existing efforts, resources and programs available.
Learn more

USPTO conference

Join us for Invention-Con 2017, USPTO’s Independent Inventors Conference. During this two day conference, attendees can attend plenary talks, participate in topic specific small-group breakout sessions, and hear from USPTO officials and experts who will present information on patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property (IP) matters and topics of interest to small businesses. If you are an independent inventor, entrepreneur, small business owner, or an IP professional who works with them, this conference is for you.

Learn more by visiting


2017 SBIR/STTR Grant Omnibus Informational Webinar for CDC, NIH, and FDA
Date: Thursday, June 29
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 EDT
Registration: Space is Limited. Link is

USPTO logo

Your Intellectual Property – a Webinar Series for SBIR/STTR Grantees
For small businesses participating in the SBIR/STTR program understanding Intellectual Property (IP) – Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks, and Copyrights – is necessary to protect your ideas, products and product names in today’s knowledge economy. This webinar series will cover all aspects of Intellectual Property protection as well as help you understand your IP Data Rights under the SBIR/STTR grant/contract.
First Webinar Date: Monday, July 10
Topic: U.S. IP rights and the SBIR-STTR Stakeholders
Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDT
Registration: Space is limited. Register at


Find a Research Topic Fit: USDA and NSF SBIR Programs
SBIR Agency Speakers: Scott Dockum (USDA) and Ben Schrag (NSF)
This free webinar will guide high-tech entrepreneurs and university researchers through the process of searching research topics within the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.
Date: Tuesday, July 25
Time: 1:00-3:30 p.m. EDT (allowing 30 min. for Q&A)
Registration: No fee but registration is required. Link is

Online Tutorials

June Spotlight: Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency Tutorial

This tutorial will help you understand the Health and Human Services (HHS) agency, which includes the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The agency commonly uses what is referred to as parent funding opportunity announcements, also known as Omnibus solicitations, which allow applicants to submit investigator-initiated projects for consideration by any of the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HHS provides both grants and contracts.

Access the tutorial

Town Hall with Mpls Fed President Neel Kashkari

Thanks to strong early registrations, the Town Hall Forum on Tuesday, June 27 with Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, is being moved to a new, larger location, and will now be held at the Michigan Tech’s Memorial Union Building, Ballroom A, located at 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton.

The event is free to the public. Advance registration is strongly encouraged, but walk-ins on the day of the event are welcome.

Do you have a hard question about the economy? Or about the Fed’s recent interest rate hikes? Curious about what the Minneapolis Fed does within the Federal Reserve System?

Here is your chance to join a dynamic, no-holds-barred conversation about these very topics and more. President Kashkari is a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, where the Fed sets interest rates. He served under President Bush and President Obama as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability, and ran for Governor of California in 2014.

He will give brief remarks, followed by an open-mic Q&A with the audience, moderated by Dr. Jacqueline Huntoon, Provost of Michigan Tech.

When & Where: 
Tuesday, June 27th, 5:00-6:30pm
Michigan Tech’s Memorial Union Building, Ballroom A

5:00 – Doors open, Free food and refreshment
5:30 – Welcome and introduction by Dr. Jacqueline Huntoon, followed by opening remarks by Neel Kashkari
5:45 – Q&A with audience
6:30 – Program end


Halcyon 14-Day Incubator Intensive

Applications Close June 30 
Halcyon is opening its doors to promising social entrepreneurs from around the world for a 14-Day Incubator Intensive designed to turn a vision into a social enterprise.
Washington, D.C. is at the center of social entrepreneurship and is considered the top location for growing early-stage ventures. Halcyon is Washington’s premiere social enterprise incubator with a proven model and track record for accelerating social enterprises and solving 21st Century problems.
If you have a transformative idea and a commitment to turning that idea into a reality, apply now!
Click here to watch a video about Halcyon Incubator.
What’s Included?
  • Two weeks of housing at Halcyon’s facility in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
  • Access to a world-class network of partners, supporters, investors and Halcyon Incubator alumni
  • Advice from legal, business, communications, marketing and accounting partner companies
  • Pitch sessions with leading startup and impact investors
  • Continued support from Halcyon’s team and partners, following the program
What are the requirements?
  • Applicant entrepreneurs must have a transformative idea in any sector, and a commitment to working hard to turn that idea into a venture
  • Applicants must be a founder or co-founder of a potentially high-impact social enterprise
  • Applicants will need to be available 100% of the time during the Incubator Intensive, participation in simultaneous programs is not advised
What else should I know?
  • The cost per individual is USD $6,500
  • Air and ground transportation are not included in the cost and must be secured by all accepted applicants
  • Accepted applicants are encouraged to explore local funding opportunities to support their inclusion in the Halcyon Incubator Intensive. Local nonprofits, incubators, accelerators, investors and government programs may have options to support your participation
  • Each venture is responsbile for securing their own funding, travel expenses and necessary visas for participation in the program
Have questions? Want to learn more? Please contact Joshua Mandell at

MTEC SmartZone Legal Seminar #3: Business Agreements, Tuesday June 20th at 9am

The next legal seminar in our series will be held on Tuesday, June 20th with guest presenter Tami Seavoy. This event is open to all MTEC SmartZone clients!

It will take place at the Powerhouse in Houghton.  Read below for more details.

About the presentation: 

The term “partner” is overused in business and may refer to a person, who owns stock or an interest in the same company, a lender, a vendor or another contractor.  This presentation is intended to help the entrepreneur better discern the essence of the relationship before assigning it a label.

Aligning expectations of those working together on a business venture and finding the right label and structure for the relationship, helps entrepreneurs protect their IP as they develop formation documents and next steps.  This presentation is geared toward those in pre-formation and/or early development stages, but also may be useful to those on the verge of expansion.


If you are interested in attending the 9am – 10:30am session, you MUST sign up here:

To sign up for an hour-long one on one Session with Tami, look here:

We hope you can join us,

Jason Mack
VP Business Development, MTEC SmartZone
906-487-7000   |

SBIR/STTR Road tour to MI

BBCetc invites you to join us for this Special Event:
Program managers from the nation’s federal agency SBIR/STTR programs are coming to Michigan to meet individually with YOU!
Attend this event and pitch your technology directly to the relevant agency reps, ask questions and talk about next steps while learning about the $2.5 billion in non-dilutive funding available through the SBIR/STTR programs annually.


Hear informative agency panels SBIR/STTR training sessions + Visit with Michigan entrepreneurial support providers + Meet with BBCetc SBIR/STTR Consultants
July 19, 2017
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti
Attend any or all of the day’s activities!
General Admission: $40
Students: $20 with ID
Register Today to Reserve Your Meeting with SBIR/STTR Program Managers from:
  • Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Department of Defense – Navy
  • Department of Defense – Air Force (USAF)
  • Department of Defense – Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
  • Department of Defense – Special Operations Command (SOCOM)
  • Department of Energy (DOE)
  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Department of Commerce – National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Department of Transportation (tentative)
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Meetings available 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM After registering you will be sent a unique link that will direct you to your personal page. There you will request the agencies you wish to meet with and complete a quad chart to assist in your meetings, save it as a pdf, then upload it. (Get BBCetc’s help on completing your quad chart – see webinar top right)

The Day At-A-Glance
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Check in
8:30 – 8:50 a.m.
8:30 a.m. – Noon
One-on-one meetings with agency Program Managers
9:00 a.m. – Noon
Agency Panels Discussions
12:15 – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch Panel – MI Success Stories: Tips from Those Who’ve Been There
1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
Top 10 Dos and Don’ts for Your SBIR/STTR Proposal
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Essentials of SBIR/STTR Commercialization Planning
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Michigan Entrepreneurial Resources Showcase (see who’ll be there)
5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Informal Networking

Michigan Small Business Development Center: Webinars for busy Entrepreneurs

Company Culture – Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)
Tuesday, June 13th, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
EOS is a complete system of simple tools to help you run your business more effectively. In this session you will learn the fundamentals of company culture and practical tools to help create your ideal environment.
Writing a Business Plan
Wednesday, June 14th 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
This webinar covers the ins and outs of writing a business plan and is designed for individuals who want to launch or grow their business.
Creating a Strong Marketing Funnel
Thursday, June 15th 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Learn how to build a marketing funnel for your business to make your marketing efforts more efficient and effective. This webinar will help you determine how to cultivate your leads and move them step-by-step through your sales pipeline while increasing customer retention.

NIH administrative supplements to parent awards

Concept to Clinic: Commercializing Innovation (C3i) Program
Are you an NIH-funded investigator focused on medical device innovations? NIH recently announced the availability of administrative supplements to parent awards for a number of different activity codes with participation by four ICs (see lists below). Both SBIR/STTR awardees as well as recipients of a number of different research grants are eligible.

The Concept to Clinic: Commercializing Innovation (C3i) Program is designed to provide NIH-funded medical device innovators with an entrepreneurship training program to include specialized business frameworks and essential tools for successful translation of biomedical technologies from lab (concept) to market (clinic). The curriculum and customized mentoring provided by the program are intended to guide investigators in assessing the commercial viability and potential business opportunity for their innovation.

The C3i Program will span 24 weeks divided into two 12-week phases and consisting of two in-person events, weekly teleconferences, lectures, and coursework. The teams will be guided through a series of lectures and interactive exercises, pressure-testing commercial viability of ideas using universal business criteria as well as the unique requirements of medical device commercialization. Participants also work with experienced business advisers and subject matter experts who provide insights into the market sector, intellectual property, regulatory, and reimbursement requirements specific for their projects.

NIH intends to commit up to $500,000 in direct costs in FY 2017 to fund 24 awards in 2017. All project teams selected will participate in Phase I of the C3i Program, running from September 12, 2017 through December 14, 2017. Up to 16 of the participating project teams will be offered acceptance into Phase II, based on outcomes from Phase I (e.g. market potential, business model validation, and commitment to the coursework). Phase II will run from January 8, 2018 through March 30, 2018.

For more details refer to the FOA listed below.

FOA: PA-17-286
Application deadline: June 30
Notice of awards: September 1
Award budget: Up to $30k for SBIR/STTR awardees and $18k for all others.
Eligible Activity Codes: P01, P41, R01, R24, R41/R42, R43/R44, U01, U44, UG3/UH3, UH2/UH3

unique opportunity for innovators, entrepreneurs
researchers and small technology firms!
SBIR Road Tour & Summit – July 19
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti
Join BBCetc for this special event featuring one-on-one meetings with federal
agency Program Managers, informative panels and sessions and a showcase of
Michigan entrepreneurial resources.
Agencies touring: NIH, NSF, USDA, NIST, USAF, MDA, Navy, SOCOM, DOE, DHS, USPTO, and DOT


SBIR Road Tour & Summit – July 19
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti
Join BBCetc for this special event featuring one-on-one meetings with federal
agency Program Managers, informative panels and sessions and a showcase of
Michigan entrepreneurial resources.
Agencies touring: NIH, NSF, USDA, NIST, USAF, MDA, Navy, SOCOM, DOE, DHS, USPTO, and DOT

SBIR/STTR Proposal Prep for NIH

Wednesday, June 7, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
University of Michigan North Campus Research Complex, Ann Arbor
This workshop covers all aspects of writing SBIR/STTR grants focused on life science technologies. Topics covered include: current information on the NIH program, writing to meet reviewer expectations, step-by-step instruction on writing each section of your proposal, and common problems and pitfalls to avoid. If you’re targeting a submission for the Sept. 5 deadline, don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to put your best foot forward!
Cost: $75 Register
ABCs of SBIR/STTR Funding
Thursday, June 8, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
WMed Innovation Center, Kalamazoo
Attend this free Lunch & Learn and find out how the federal SBIR/STTR programs can provide a source of R&D funding between the initial development of your innovative idea and proof that it has potential in the marketplace. Learn about SBIR/STTR eligibility requirements, which of the 11 participating agencies best fits your technology, the differences between SBIR and STTR and more.
Cost: Complimentary but registration is required. Register