Funding Innovation with SBIR Grants

Revolutionizing indoor cultivation

Innovative ideas can hit quickly. But turning ideas into solutions and market-ready products can take a very long time, especially for self-funded entrepreneurs and those working in emerging industries. (Folks like Trella Technologies!) In those cases, it’s especially important for innovators to know where they can obtain funding, such as loans and grants.

At Trella Technologies, we aim to revolutionize indoor cultivation and create innovative solutions to support the fragile global food chain. As innovators, we explored various avenues for funding and decided to apply for a grant through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The SBIR program is managed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and was created to stimulate innovation and support small business entrepreneurship with federally-funded research and development grants.

According to, the SBIR “program’s goals are to:

  • Stimulate technological innovation.

  • Meet federal research and development needs.

  • Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons.

  • Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal research and development funding.”

The program also involves three separate phases designed to continually assess the proposed research and development project’s merit and commercial viability over the course of two-to-three years. This isn’t a short-term commitment on either parties’ side: It’s an investment for both the applicant and the federal government in both the project’s specific R&D, as well as in the American small business ecosystem.

The SBIR grant application itself requires three letters of support from other small businesses who believe in the applicant. Trella is fortunate and grateful to have letters of support from Jared Auclair, PhD, Director of the Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory at Northeastern University; and Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. Our application is further supported by the inclusion of Linda Noel, owner of Terrapin Farm and a farmer with more than 25 years of experience with hydroponic and soil-based crops.

So, the next time brilliance strikes—and the reality of required funding sets in—take some time to explore the SBIR grant program to see if it is right for you. Learn more about SBIR here.

And stay tuned for more updates as Trella works our way through this complex and competitive process on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. Thank you for your support!