A new economic development initiative recently launched in a pilot phase with the aim of supporting the growth and development of small businesses in Richardson.

According to a city news release, the Richardson Research Award Match Program is intended to complement federal grant dollars awarded through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs administered by the Small Business Administration. Applications for the program are available online.

What you need to know

City Manager Don Magner said the city’s newest program is an opportunity to help fund small businesses already receiving money from the federal government by distributing city funding up to the amount received in a federal grant. Companies applying for Research Award Match Program funding can receive up to $150,000 from the city, which is maxed out at $50,000 for those with Phase 1 SBIR or STTR grants and $100,000 for Phase 2 grants.

“We’re willing to put resources into entrepreneurship,” Magner said. “In return, we hope that [entrepreneurs] see the strong community we are and want to stay here.”

Companies eligible for the city funding must be either located within Richardson or have plans to move to the city, and stay for at least five years, per the news release. Magner said a goal of the program is to foster innovative companies that also align with Richardson’s targeted economic sectors, such as telecommunications and semiconductors.

Digging deeper

Magner said the program will be evaluated throughout its first year with the potential to formalize the program in the future. Funding is allocated from the city’s economic development fund, he added.

Along with offering an economic incentive, Magner said he hopes the program is able to tie into other existing resources within the city, such as the Innovation Quarter, and build upon the city’s platform of promoting technological innovations with the potential to have a real-world impact.

“We want to make sure we’re taking a holistic approach and make sure we select businesses that best align with the values of Richardson across the board,” Magner said.

What’s next?

Magner said the results of the pilot phase of the program will inform next steps, such as budgeting resources in the annual budget or extending the pilot phase.

“I’m excited to see how it does in the first year and how we can refine it going forward,” Magner said.