Technological Innovation Government Programs

For small businesses looking to conduct research and development, while needing funds to realize their small business technology, check out The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The SBIR “is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization.” Progressing in three phases (I to III) with funding of up to US$150,000 in phase I (6 months) and up to US$1,000,000 (2 years) in phase II, the “SBIR funds the critical startup and development stages and it encourages the commercialization of the technology, product, or service, which, in turn, stimulates the U.S. economy.” The program started in 1982 (President Regan) and encompasses several US federal agencies.

Another US federal government program focusing on small business technology companies is The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) . The STTR “expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena.” Like the SBIR, the STTR is a three phase program offering the same monetary support as the SBIR to small businesses who partner/collaborate with research institutions/laboratories. The goal of the STTR is to “[i]ncrease private sector commercialization of innovations derived from federal R&D.”

  • Funding opportunities are listed online, and include current solicitations as well as future opportunities.

If your small business technology enterprise resides in New York (the Empire State), then check out the Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) site. NYSTAR lists a number of programs offered in the State of New for New York companies on the left hand side of their site (click thru the links listed for more info). If your high technology small business is located in Connecticut, take a look at the venture capital program called Connecticut Innovations.

Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

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Cybersecurity Tools

If your business operates online, then your business/company should seriously address cybersecurity issues. The Small Business Administration (SBA) dedicates a page describing and linking to “Top Tools and Resources for Small Business Owners”. The page features links to fact sheets, webinars, online courses, and other federal agency resources. One such resource derives from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that provides and generates, through an interactive web site, a Small Biz Cyber Planner that a company may use to “create and save a custom cyber security plan for your company, choosing from a menu of expert advice to address your specific business needs and concerns.” There is also a link to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Resilience Review (CRR), “…a no-cost, voluntary, non-technical assessment to evaluate an organization’s operational resilience and cybersecurity practices.” The CRR page contains a number of downloadable forms and resource guides.

An additional SBA webpage contains their “Social Media Cyber-Vandalism Toolkit”, which

…provides guidance and security practices to small businesses using these tools in their online operations. Suggestions and resources prepare users to respond to cyber-hijacking, and will empower digital users to make informed choices and enact future policy.

Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

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Check out Global NY & OpentoExport if you are a New York or UK business

If you are a New York state small business thinking about exporting to foreign countries or already selling your products abroad, then take a look at Global NY. The new program offers assistance to New York state small businesses who export as well as foreign businesses looking to invest in New York. Peruse the services and programs offered by Global NY, which include loans, grants, export marketing assistance program, state trade expansion program, and applications for each.

If your a UK based SME, then consider looking at Open to Export’s country guides as well as seeking out assistance from UK Export Finance. The UK Department for International Trade and the Enterprise Europe Network , which also has a New York Branch (The European-American Business Organization, Inc.) for New York small businesses who seek to trade with Europe.

Daniel H. Erskine, an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

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Beware Foreign Domestic Laws

Sending personnel overseas into a different country subjects your sales people, executives, and employees generally to the domestic laws (called municipal laws in international law parlance) of the country they visit.  Equally important is whether the personnel you send over to another nation possess dual nationality with the country they travel to; dual nationality (see the US Department of State’s definition) could mean your employee’s US citizenship is disregarded under municipal law.  The US Department of State maintains a checklist for preparations to undertake before traveling abroad, which emphatically cautions:

“While traveling, you are subject to the local laws even if you are a U.S. Citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and it is very important to know what’s legal and what’s not. If you break local laws while abroad, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the U.S. Embassy cannot get you out of jail.”

Recent news stories of foreign country based employees of US employers are replete with illustrations of municipal (local) law violations leading to long internments, debilitating conditions, and inaccessibility to outside advisors.  While certain international treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Charter as well as non-treaty (called customary international law) instruments like The Universal Declaration of Human Rights instill a system of individual rights nations should protect and recognize, enforcement is largely left to internal governmental processes within individual nations.  There are advisory complaint procedures set out in either treaties themselves or through the UN system (a list of such bodies is maintained by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights). Remember nations need to sign (and ratify) treaties and may not possess a system for direct effect of the treaty rights in their domestic governmental systems.

Be aware many nations permit private citizens to initiate criminal complaints under local criminal laws to redress ostensibly private grievances through prosecution under substantive criminal law and procedure codes with punishments of imprisonment available in resolution of the dispute.

Certain US laws limit the ability of US citizens to sue, in US state or federal courts, foreign governments (for example the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act). 

Diligence in exploring a country’s municipal law before sending your employees overseas hopefully avoids local foreign law violations.

As a starting point, use of the US Department of State’s Country Information pages provide general preliminary advisories on specific countries, their local laws, and visa requirements (consider work authorization requirements as well).  Proactively engaging foreign country travel issues with your personnel helps to educate and manage the risks associated with foreign business travel.

Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

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Sanctions List to Check Before Doing Business

Before doing business with a prospective new business partner or customer your US or UK small business should (and may be required) conduct due diligence on your new prospect. Some lists to check are UK-HM Treasury’s Consolidated List, EU Sanctions List, EU Regimes Sanctions List, UN Sanctions List, OFAC Sanctions Lists, and Consolidated Screening List. www.erskine-law.com

Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
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SizeUp your Business & NY Business Financing

Looking for market data on how your small business compares; check out the Small Business Administration’s online tool Sizeup. The tool helps by “benchmarking [your small business] against competitors, mapping your customers, competitors and suppliers, and locating the best places to advertise.” You will need to create a sign in to access some of the options. Your New York small business may also retrieve labor market data from the New York Department of Labor’s statistics site. There you will find wage data by occupation, employment projections, and regional data (among other items). In addition, your New York small business might want to look at business financing options at New York Business First’s website. The site details programs available for New York small and larger businesses offered throughout New York State. Also, reference to Empire State’s various business programs may prove useful for your New York small business or your SME located abroad. Their International Division has offices overseas (there is one in the UK in London). www.erskine-law.com

Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
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Your Small Business Can Now Use US Ambasadors

A recent program rolled out by the United States Department of State permits US small business owners to directly connect with American Ambassadors to discuss available in-country business opportunities. The program is called Direct Line and features US consular officers as well as local government officials available for conference calls and webcasts at predetermined dates and times. To learn more about the Direct Line program visit the data sheet webpage. You may also want to check out the US State Department’s Business Information Database System (BIDS), which is a newly developed website for small business international commercial opportunities. Interested in a particular country to find small business opportunities, then go to any US Embassy or Consulate webpage and click on the business tab (e.g. US Embassy London, England). The business webpages contain useful links to items such as exporting to the country (e.g. Exporting to the UK) as well as contact information and trade show data. Also, your small business might want to peruse the Investment Climate Statements issued by the US Department of State for concise analysis of economic and political in-country factors (e.g. United Kingdom Investment Climate Statement). www.erskine-law.com

Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
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Small Business opportunities and match program with the NRC

Does your small business operate in the nuclear energy field as a support service or goods supplier? If so take a look at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s small business Annual Small Business Seminar and Matchmaking Event that discusses how to do business with the NRC. Check out the NRC’s page entitled Other Useful Small Business and Acquisition Links for additional information on small business opportunities and 25 online courses from the SBA focusing on small business issues. The NRC’s Small Business Contracting Programs page contains information on NRC and other government agencies contracting programs for small businesses. www.erskine-law.com

Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
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Unsure of What Type of New York Business Entity to Use?

If you are opening a new business in New York, then take a look at the New York Department of State’s brochure entitled Forming a Business in
New York: An Overview
. The brochure provides a concise table comparing and contrasting the various business entities available in New York as well as identifying the typical tax basis for each type of entity.

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Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
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Do Your Export Activities Meet the 9 Principles?

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) sets out Nine Principles for an Effective Compliance Program. Compliance with these principles may mitigate penalties levied against you as a small business exporter. Check out the the BIS web site that contains a publication entitled Don’t Let This Happen to You, which includes the nine principles (page 6) and a number of illustrations of non-compliance. There is also a short presentation concerning similar subject matter with a checklist tool that the BIS utilizes.

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Daniel H. Erskine, Esq., an international attorney, practices in New York and Connecticut focusing on international law, civil litigation, appeals, and small business transactions. www.erskine-law.com Attorney Advertising; USE OR VIEWING OF THIS BLOG OR ANY OF THE WEB PAGES LINKED TO IT DOES NOT ESTABLISH OR OTHERWISE CONSTITUTE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
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