RALEIGH, N.C. – The Defense & Security Technology Accelerator in Fayetteville will receive a one-time grant of $300,000 for continuing operations, the state Department of Commerce disclosed on Wednesday.
The funding was not as much as the new business incubator had hoped to receive, however. The amount will probably mean a delay in some initiatives for the DSTA, as it is known. Likely to be delayed is a planned “seed money” grant program for new businesses.
“We’re grateful to receive what we did,” said Scott Perry, the former U.S. Army Special Forces veteran who serves as general manager for the DSTA. “It’s good news.
“It shows there is continued support of the program,” he added, “but we will be required to look for incremental funding this year.”
The Department of Commerce is handing out $10 million to 11 government and non-profit entities through a one-time $10 million allocation from the North Carolina General Assembly. Grants ranged from as little as $73,000 for a wind turbine project in Yancey County to two $3.5 million awards for business park developments. One of those is for the Piedmont Triad Research park. The funds will be used for further development. The other major grant is for the Elizabeth City Aviation Research and Development Park.
The $300,000 combined with the remainder of $2 million originally allocated for the DSTA project in 2005 means the center has sufficient operating funds through the end of the fiscal year in June, Perry said. However, without additional money the DSTA will most likely have to delay its grant program.
“We will put in a request in the vicinity of $2.5 million to the General Assembly in June or July for the next fiscal year,” Perry said.
Perry came on board the project last June. The 15,000 square foot incubator opened its doors in November. Among its supporters are economic development groups in Cumberland County and Fayetteville as well as the North Carolina Technology Association. The DSTA is positioned as being a key building block in a defense and security technology cluster for the state, helping launch and grow companies related to the massive U.S. military presence in North Carolina.
Seven companies already are doing business in the DSTA, which is more than 60 percent full.
“We’ve made some leaps and bounds,” Perry said. “We have seven companies, and they have already created 48 jobs. They are operating or managing more than 20 contracts, and they expect to have gross combined revenues of $10 million in 2007.
“Our selection process is working,” he added. “We are choosing some good companies.”
The firms are seeking to develop technology and products that can be used by the U.S. military and security agencies and also commercialize it.
Two other companies are being reviewed by the incubator, but another firm may not move in if the seed fund grants aren’t available, Perry said.