Regional SBIR awards top $34.7 million in 2010

February 1, 2012

Montgomery County, Virginia
Economic Development Department

Montgomery County, Virginia – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards continue to post promising growth in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region. From 2006 to 2010, the region’s annual SBIR awards have grown 34 percent from $25.9 million to $34.7 million – an increase of $8.8 million. The Roanoke-Blacksburg region’s 2010 total ranked it 13 nationally when compared to other combined statistical areas – one spot ahead of Austin-Round Rock-Marble Falls, TX (View List of Top 50).

With a total 2010 population of 471,665, the Roanoke-Blacksburg region was the only area in the top 27 with a population less than 500,000. To further put it into perspective, the average population of those 27 combined statistical areas, including the Roanoke-Blacksburg region, was 4.8 million.

SBIR Awards ($ in millions),
Roanoke-Blacksburg Region, 2006-2010.

Net Change
Percent Change
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, downloaded from the TECH-Net Database on 2/2/2012.

These findings are according to a recent analysis conducted by the Montgomery County Economic Development Department to assess what, if any, impact the SBIR program has on Montgomery County and the greater Roanoke-Blacksburg region (i.e. the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford and Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Areas). The department conducted the analysis using 2010 awards data obtained from the U.S. Small Business Administration - the agency that administers the program.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration website, the SBIR program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The competitive awards-based program enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.

SBIR Awards by Phase,
Roanoke-Blacksburg Region, 2010.

Number of Awards
Total Amount (in millions)

Phase I



Phase II






Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, downloaded from the TECH-Net Database on 2/2/2012.

In 2010, the Roanoke-Blacksburg region had 20 companies who received 125 SBIR awards totaling $34.7 million. Of these 20 awards, 70 percent were Phase I and 30 percent were Phase II. The primary purpose of a Phase I award is to provide a company the opportunity to determine the scientific or technical merit and feasibility of its proposed research and development. If the technology researched through Phase I appears promising, the company can seek a Phase II award to continue its efforts toward developing the technology for commercialization.

A majority of the companies who received SBIR awards in 2010 were located in Montgomery County. The county had a total of 15 companies based in Blacksburg that received $12.7 million in awards - accounting for 36 percent of the regional total. Twelve of these companies were located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center – a 220-acre research park that is home to over 140 technology-based companies and research centers.

Luna Innovations – headquartered in the City of Roanoke with research and development facilities in Blacksburg, Charlottesville and Danville – received the most SBIR funding of any other company in the region with $14.0 million. It single handily accounted for 40% of the Roanoke-Blacksburg region’s 2010 SBIR total. The next four companies with the highest SBIR award total in 2010 included: 2) Nanosonic in Giles County with $5.9 million, 3) Harmonia in Montgomery County with $3.0 million, 4) Adaptive Technologies in Montgomery County $2.2 million and 5) Nuvotronics in Pulaski County with $2.0 million.

“Many of these SBIR grants will help small companies grow to create jobs and stimulate economic development," said Cory Donovan, the Executive Director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council. "The Roanoke-Blacksburg region is an emerging tech hub and there’s more going on here than most people realize. The trend is only going to continue with the launch of Phase II at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, the work being done at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, and the entrepreneurial spirit that exists here in the Roanoke-Blacksburg region. These are exciting times!”

SBIR Awards by County/City and Company,
Roanoke-Blacksburg Region, 2010




Giles County








Montgomery County









Prime Research LC



NBE Technologies, LLC*



Electrical Distribution Design, Inc.



MicroXact, Inc.*



Transecurity, LLC*









BC Genesis*












Vision Point Systems, Inc.*



Schultz-Creehan, LLC*


Pulaski County



Nuvotronics LLC



International Scientific Technologies, Inc.


Roanoke City



Luna Innovations Incorporated


Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, downloaded from the TECH-Net Database on 2/2/2012.

* Indicates the company is located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.

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The Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department's mission is to improve the quality of life throughout Montgomery County, including the incorporated ares of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, by encouraging positive economic growth that 1) creates meaningful career opportunities, 2) expands the commercial tax base, and 3) protects our enviable way of life. Learn More

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