Ardmore offers incentives to attract out-of-state companies that have research funds

Innovations and Entrepreneurs columnist Rex Smitherman writes that the Ardmore Development Authority offers an aggressive incentive program that dovetails perfectly with Oklahoma's strategy to increase the state's share of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards.
BY REX SMITHERMAN Published: October 2, 2012

The Ardmore Development Authority offers an aggressive incentive program that dovetails perfectly with Oklahoma's statewide strategy to increase the state's share of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards.

The Ardmore Development Authority is targeting out-of-state companies that have been granted a Phase I SBIR award and plan to apply for a Phase II award, and offering incentives to move to Ardmore. The program focuses on industries that have a synergy with sectors and businesses that already are strong in the region — sensors, bioenergy, plant biology and aerospace.

“We want to grow technology companies,” said Wes Stucky, Ardmore Development Authority president and CEO. “We have set aside funding — up to $50,000 per company — to use as a bonus in cash to nurture these businesses along while they are applying for their Phase II.”

The requirements of the Ardmore program are rigorous, and companies are obligated to hire an expert consultant to develop the SBIR Phase II proposal.

“Many of these technology companies feed off of one another, so having companies come here that have some commonality is good,” Stucky said. “We'd like to do 10 deals and then evaluate the program.”

One such company, Lightwave Photonics Inc. (LPI), is moving to Ardmore from Minnesota. LPI has an association with Amethyst Research Inc., an Ardmore-based startup developing advanced infrared technology for “night vision” imagers.

“LPI is a young company with patents that has received SBIR I grants and made great breakthroughs in LED technology,” Stucky said. “They have sold product to a company in Germany, and this incentive is going to help them fill that order and get over their current hump.”