Today Governor Pritzker announced he is signing equity-centric legislation expanding economic access and opportunity across Illinois. The bill includes language creating the Illinois Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds Program.

In 2019, iBIO, working with Senator Elgie Sims (D-17th) and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), introduced SB1608 to create an SBIR matching program in Illinois. Later that year, Governor Pritzker identified the SBIR Matching Program as a critical piece of Illinois’ five-year economic plan. 

“The life sciences industry is developing novel vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics that are helping us emerge from the current pandemic. Programs like Illinois SBIR/STTR Matching Program will help our community build on this momentum and strengthen our capacity to confront future pandemics and improve patients’ lives.” John Conrad, President & CEO, iBIO

The federal Small Business Innovation Research program, or SBIR, provides more than $2.5 billion annually in grants from 11 federal agencies designed to help small businesses create and commercialize innovations and technologies. The mission of SBIR/STTR Program includes fostering and encouraging participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons. 

Illinois SBIR and STTR Matching program will provide a state match of 50%, up to $50,000, for qualifying Illinois companies who receive a Phase I SBIR award. 

Matching federal SBIR program dollars with state funds will significantly help grow the life science industry in Illinois. The SBIR and STTR programs provide much-needed funding to small startup life sciences enterprises so they can move their technologies from the bench to the patient. 

“Establishing a state matching program for federal SBIR awards will have an immediate impact on small companies in Illinois like Rhaeos,” said Anna Lisa Somera, CEO of Rhaeos a medical device startup from Northwestern University, “this grant program will be instrumental in helping companies bridge funding gaps in-between value inflection milestones.”

IBIO commends the leadership of Governor Pritzker, Senator Elgie Sims, and the members of the Illinois General Assembly for passing legislation to create this critical program for Illinois’ startup ecosystem. 

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will administer the SBIR Matching Program.