top of page
computer technology

SC SBDC Technology Commercialization Program

Innovative thinkers have a friend at the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers. Entrepreneurs, inventors and companies with original ideas and innovative products can benefit from the SC SBDC’s Technology Commercialization Program (Tech Com).  Technology commercialization may be defined as taking an idea, invention, or prototype from the early concept stage through design, development, production and eventually to market.

Oftentimes entrepreneurs get discouraged when they realize they need startup capital, a research partner or a way to protect their creative ideas.  The SC SBDC Tech Com Program can help entrepreneurs to form research partnerships, identify capital, explore new markets and assist in introducing products into the marketplace.  The program can help technology developers with startup creation, market assessment, and protection of intellectual property.  

Early stage funding for startups is a key focus for the SC SBDC’s Tech Com Program.  The federal government’s grant programs such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are important opportunities for the funding of technology startups.  The SC SBDC’s Tech Com Program facilitates partnerships between private sector companies and universities to generate proof of concept data or prototypes to accelerate market introduction.

technology development continuum

The commercialization of technology may be viewed as a series of discrete development stages along a continuum as shown in the figure above.  The SC SBDC Tech Com Program is designed to provide entrepreneurs expert assistance within each of these stages in order to maximize the goal of technology commercialization.  The consulting role of the SC SBDC along this technology development continuum is described in more detail below.

  1. Development of an idea, concept or invention:  A typical SC SBDC client arrives at an initial meeting to present a concept, idea or invention that they would like to bring to market.  All meetings and any client information are held in strict confidence.

  2. Market assessment:  The SC SBDC assesses the confidential idea or invention and works with the client to develop a preliminary commercialization strategy and a market feasibility assessment.  The strategy and assessment are performed in conjunction with the inventor or other advisors as appropriate.

  3. Patenting and legal protection:  The SC SBDC assists in preliminary patent searches to identify prior art such as other patents that could block or compete with the client’s idea. When appropriate, the SC SBDC will make recommendations as to the appropriate intellectual property approach to protect their inventions or works of authorship consistent with the intended commercialization strategy. 

  4. Business Development: When appropriate, the SC SBDC provides client with advice regarding startup formation and assists in developing a strategy and business plan that positions the client’s core technology to achieve a high probability of success. 

  5. Funding:  The SC SBDC help the client to identify early stage funding sources such as SC Launch, NSF’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPCOR), SBIR/STTR grants/contracts, angel investors, or foundations.  The SC SBDC can also provide guidance in preparing submissions to such funding sources.

  6. Prospecting and connecting:  SC SBDC consultants assist clients in proactively approaching companies, entrepreneurs, technology development groups and investors who are potentially suitable partners to help bring the client’s product to market.

  7. Due diligence and negotiation:  When interested external parties request more in-depth examination of the client’s technology, the SC SBDC provides guidance with nondisclosure agreements and helps to prepare the client for discussions with potential investors or partners.

  8. Commercialization Transactions:  The SC SBDC provides guidance to appropriately structure research agreements, production/scale up contracts or  distribution agreements. In the event the client anticipates out-licensing of their technology as part of their business strategy, SC SBDC can help in structuring license agreements and developing associated business terms.

Useful Technology Resource/Commercialization links:

Association of University Technology Managers

Clemson University Technology Transfer

Innovista Technology Commercialization

Licensing Executive Society

MUSC Foundation for Research Development

SBIR/STTR web site

University of South Carolina Office of Technology Commercialization

US Patent and Trademark Office

bottom of page