The highly anticipated Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Vouchers (SBV) pilot opens for business today. Through the pilot, small businesses can apply to access the Department’s world-class facilities and an enterprise of more than 10,000 leading scientists and engineers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia national laboratories. The SBV Pilot is a part of the DOE’s National Laboratory Impact Initiative, and its main goal is to make national laboratory capabilities more affordable and easily accessible by small businesses. The pilot will focus on essential outreach, networking, competition and review, matchmaking and voucher activities, and in general, making the whole process as user-friendly as possible by creating a single entry point to the labs at www.sbv.org.temp
Sandia was awarded the pilot in the sectors of solar, wind, and geothermal energy technologies. Companies with fewer than 500 employees will be able to apply to Sandia for $50,000 to $300,000 in vouchers that can be used for a variety of technical assistance. The best business proposals will be selected in a competitive process. Successful applications will require the companies to provide a 20% cost share. “A company could apply to perform collaborative research with a particular scientist, request technical assistance from an engineer, or use facilities such as the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia or the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Los Alamos and Sandia” said Jackie Kerby Moore, Sandia SBV team lead and Sandia’s manager of technology and economic development.
Small Businesses are Critical to Lab Success
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, accounting for three-quarters of all new jobs in this country. Today, 23 million small businesses represent more than 90% of employers in the US, account for more than half of all private sector workers, and generate three out of every four new jobs, according to the US Chamber of Commerce’s Council on Small Business. They create new products, technologies, and business plans that drive our nation’s prosperity.
Critical technology challenges presented by small businesses in the clean energy sector will be evaluated in a uniform and fair process. The technology challenges from highly ranked small businesses will be properly matched with proposed solutions and capabilities from the national labs.
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