Structural Composites of Melbourne, Florida, is was one of 13 Florida companies to share nearly US$3 million in grant funding through the Florida Research Commercialisation Matching Grant Program (FRCMGP).

“We are very excited to have these grant funds as it will greatly leverage our efforts as we develop the next generation of cost effective lightweight boats for the military," says Scott Lewit, President of Structural Composites. "The grant boosts our federal efforts and will accelerate the deployment of our technology into the recreational boat and recreational vehicle industries.”

Florida’s boat builders have been hit hard by the downturn.

“Many highly skilled boat builders live in Florida, Many of Florida’s boat factories sit empty or underutilised," reports Lewit. "For example, our technology can help create a new generation of fuel efficient boats and RVs that offer performance and functionality, but can be towed by smaller more fuel efficient vehicles. This can create a whole new market for boating.”

“We want to make sure Florida participates fully in this future," he continues. "We are already seeing results; our advanced technology, the grant funding to help with deployment, ocean access, and our highly skilled labour force has attracted a leading international yacht builder, Evolution Yachts USA, Inc. to consider locating operations from Asia to Brevard county Florida. We are hopeful that Governor Scott will be effective at cutting the red tape associated with permitting as this seems to be the major barrier to closing a deal at this time.”

The FRCMGP programme is administered by the Institute for the Commercialisation of Public Research. By matching federal research money received by small businesses in Florida through Phase I and Phase II awards from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programme, this funding is designed to enable companies to produce the technologies and associated jobs that are driving today’s economy. The Institute received nearly 60 grant applications from across the state requesting more than $12 million.

“The FRCMGP leverages federal, state, and private-sector resources to help emerging companies overcome funding gaps and accelerate the innovation process,” said Jane Teague, Interim Executive Director of the Institute. “These grants will help to strengthen Florida’s economy, support the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and enable companies to create jobs while more efficiently transforming research results into new products in the marketplace.”