January 11, 2015



State and Federal programs that will help boost the competitiveness of small to mid-sized manufacturers.

Could your organization benefit by accessing programs designed to maximize profitability and efficiency? Would learning more about how to access valuable savings in everything from the research and development to production phases of your manufacturing business help in any way?
It’s difficult to imagine how to not answer these questions affirmatively. That’s why it’s important to understand the resources available to you. As you may or may not be aware, agencies at both state and federal levels view the manufacturing sector as a key component of economic growth and offer a number of programs including training, funding, and loan offerings that can have a very positive impact on your business.
In order to help you better understand your options, we have prepared this brief guide, highlighting a few of the available programs. It should not be considered an exhaustive list, rather a sampling of what you can expect to find if you look.

Federal Programs

Research and Development Tax Credits

The Research & Experimentation Tax Credit or the R&D Tax Credit is an example of a money saver that is often overlooked by manufacturers. These credits, first introduced in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 to promote investment in America and incentivize the hiring of workers to conduct R&D, currently save firms more than $10 billion a year.
Previously, standards for R&D tax credit qualification were narrow and difficult to navigate, but this is no longer the case.  Things began to change over the past decade, largely in part to Dow Chemical and others waging a lengthy legal battle with the goal of broadening the standards of for what kinds of research qualify for federal subsidies.
Now, small and midsize manufacturers that employ engineers or conduct product testing (on or off site) can claim R&D credits. Other expenses allowed under the credit include expenditures involved with obtaining a patent (like attorney’s fees) and expenses incurred while developing or improving products and processes.
The credits have become more attractive for many reasons:
  • Significant simplification of the system.
  • Credits can now be transferred in the event of acquisition.
  • Credits can be taken retroactively.
These can ease the burden on startups, because R&D costs from years when a company has zero income can be carried forward and used to offset taxes on future profits.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration was founded in 1953 with the philosophy and mission of helping Americans overcome the stresses of the Great Depression and World War II.  Since that time, it has secured millions of dollars worth of loans, contracts, and other forms of assistance for small business.
Extensive private-public partnerships between government agencies and the manufacturing industry have fostered the creation of a network of programs and services to help your business get off the ground, expand, and become profitable.
The SBA can help your manufacturing business from the get-go by providing information on a multitude of matters, including:
  • Financing Small Manufacturing Businesses
  • Lean Process Improvements
  • Help navigating Environmental, OSHA, and Tax Regulations
  • In-Person, Start-Up, and Management Assistance
  • Aiding in Business Site Selection and Energy Efficiency Services
Learn more about the SBA, and how its network of resources can benefit your manufacturing business at

Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP)

IMCP is a new federal partnership designed to create a competitive climate to inspire communities to invest in manufacturing. The IMCP incentivizes economic development strategies that give you a leg up when it comes to attracting global manufacturers.
They also offer a playbook that explains a three-step approach to creating such a strategy and describes existing grant and technical assistance resources that communities can leverage to their advantage.
Advice from IMCP Playbook Backbone: Build an organizational backbone with the insight needed to strengthen manufacturing and fully support the work that follows.
Assessment: Conduct a community self-assessment of the local industrial ecosystem (i.e., the whole range of physical, capital, and human resource components needed for manufacturing activities) to identify current strengths and deficiencies.
Tune-up: Develop a comprehensive and transformational tune-up strategy that can be sustained over time.
If you follow the steps listed in the IMCP Playbook and develop and submit a winning manufacturing strategy, your community could become one of up to twelve to receive designation as a “Manufacturing Community.” Designated Manufacturing Communities will receive preferable status when it comes to consideration for $1.3 billion in federal money and assistance from ten cabinet department/agencies.
To find out more about how to create and submit your strategy, and what to do to turn where you live into a Manufacturing Community, please visit:

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

The awards-based SBIR program encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. It operates in a highly competitive fashion in which small businesses gain further incentive to explore and increase their technological potential and associated profits.
Manufacturers certainly don’t need extra incentives to make and sell the best products in the world, but if such incentives are on the table you might as well grab a plate.
Each year, eleven federal agencies each with R&D budgets exceeding $100 million must allocate 2.8 percent of that budget to these programs. Presently, there are eleven participating federal agencies.
SBIR Program goals
  • Stimulate technological innovation
  • Meet federal research and development needs
  • Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by socially and economically disadvantaged persons
  • Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal research and development funding
For more information, please visit:

Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)

STTR is another program intended to broaden funding for innovation and R&D. One of the program’s primary attributes is its expansion of public/private partnerships, which now includes joint venture opportunities for nonprofit research institutions and small businesses.
A huge benefit and unique feature of the STTR program is something manufacturers value highly: collaboration.
Small businesses participating in STTR are required to formally partner and work with a research institution in the initial phases. By mandating collaboration, STTR is able to narrow the distance between the performance of scientific processes and the commercialization of the resulting innovations.
STTR Program Goals
  • Stimulate technological innovation
  • Foster technology transfer through cooperative R&D between small businesses and research institutions
  • Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R&D
The STTR promotes collaboration and streamlining your commercialization aspirations. For more information, please visit:

Energy Efficiency Program for Manufacturers

The multi-phase Energy Efficiency Program for Manufacturers was created to help Ohio manufacturers like you reduce energy costs by diagnosing, planning, and implementing improvements at their facilities.  Since its inception, the program has contributed more than $24 million to Ohio’s manufacturing sector It has also produced a combined annual “savings of 1,112,109 million British Thermal Units (gas, oil, other) and 79,256 megawatt hours.
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program and Ohio’s Advanced Energy Fund, and designed to maximize efficiency in four phases. The Energy Efficiency Program for Manufacturers defines these as:
Phase I is the identification of energy cost savings through a facilitated process which company management examines how they think about energy within their business systems.
Phase II is the development of an energy plan that combines changes in business process methodologies with the identification of cost-effective measures through the completion of a technical energy audit of the company’s facilities.
Phase III is the installation of the energy cost savings measures and many companies are eligible for financing through Office of Energy to implement these measures.
Phase IV is measurement and verification of the energy cost savings measures.
The savings that can be accrued through being as efficient as possible when it come to your company’s energy practices can be substantial.
Energy rates will continue to increase. Take effective countermeasures to ensure your business’s success and maximize energy efficiency. For more information, please visit:

JobsOhio Manufacturing Resources and Incentive Programs

Founded as “a private, nonprofit organization that promotes job creation and economic development for Ohio,” JobsOhio provides assistance in a wide variety of areas, including:
  • Loan and grant programs
  • State tax credits and abatements.
  • State financing,
  • State grants, and
  • State economic development programs.
For more information, please visit: and

The Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA)

Focused on supporting businesses, individuals, and communities throughout the state of Ohio, the Ohio Development Services Agency is a great source for a wide variety of bonds, grants, loans and tax credits created to help Ohio companies grow.
Governor Kasich formally changed the name of the Ohio Department of Development to the Ohio Development Services Agency in 2012. This move signified the implementation of Ohio’s new economic development strategy; part of which improved access to development capital for small- and minority-owned businesses.
ODSA provides a list featuring more than thirty programs that provide grants, training, and other forms of assistance to manufacturers.
For the complete list, please visit:

The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP)

The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), of which PolymerOhio/ OH!Manufacturing are members, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the growth and prosperity of the manufacturing community.
The partnership is broken down across all of Ohio into regions covered by six organizations. PolymerOhio serves manufacturers in the 11-county Central Ohio region.
Ohio MEP supports manufacturers by providing the products, services, and assistance that are dedicated to their productivity, growth, and global competitiveness.
Since 2004, the Ohio MEP program has been working with specialized nonprofits to provide low-cost business and technical assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturers.
More specifically, the Ohio MEP accomplishes this by
  • Connecting clients with resources that can help address their operational challenges.
  • Providing a mix of free and for-fee services that draw upon the deep industry and functional expertise of OH! Manufacturing consultants and external partners.
  • Enhancing product development and commercialization.
  • Improving operational efficiency and effectiveness.
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