Only a fifth of U.S. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) fund grants  are provided to women- and minority-owned businesses.


InventIllinois is a new opportunity for researchers, innovators, and technology entrepreneurs from typically underserved populations, including women, minorities, and veterans, who have a passion for high-science, to bring their product from concept to pilot and, ultimately, to the marketplace through a comprehensive curriculum and support services that enhance their ability to pursue federal grant funding.

We are teaming up with Invent2026, a small non-for-profit firm with a history of supporting businesses license and commercialize technology from federal and university labs. In leveraging their expertise,  the InventIllinois program will provide a 12-week cohort-based curriculum designed to create the necessary materials for highly-competitive SBIR grant applications, in addition to investor-worthy business plans and presentations.

By gaining access to the SBIR funding program, small businesses have the opportunity to provide solutions not just to the technology challenges of the federal government, but for corporate partners looking for solutions to maintain their competitive advantages.

Learn about the types of high science innovation areas that federal agencies are looking to fund through the SBIR program HERE


  • Weekly outputs include but not limited to: Customer/target market discovery;Technical feasibility analysis;Productization strategy;Revenue/business model analysis;IP strategy
  • Corporate partner connections
  • Business Plan via Live Plan (easy to update/edit)
  • SBIR application support
  • Ongoing company strategy advising


Cohort 1 Launch January 25

Cohort 2 Launch February 27


WBDC, 8 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60603


Entrepreneurs and researchers in all high-science industries, including – but not limited to –  biotechnology, robotics, and new mobility, with an establish concept they would like to pilot and bring to the marketplace. We have three targeted groups of potential participants:

  • High-science researchers interested in partnering with entrepreneurs to take their concept into the marketplace;
  • Technology entrepreneurs looking to help a researcher make their high-science concept a reality;
  • Entrepreneurs with a high-science concept that need support taking their research to the next level.



  1. Complete the Intent to Apply form by clicking on the link below.
  2. Phone interview with program manager.
  3. Receive invitation to complete the full application.

Follow us on social media for updates! #InventIllinois


Sign up to get the latest updates from the WBDC!

Sign Up