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Business Planning and Progress of Small Firms Engaged in Technology Development Through the Advanced Technology Program



J Powell


This report assesses participation, strategies, and progress of firms engaged in technology development through partnerships with the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). The focus is on the performance of small firms (those with fewer than 500 employees) compared with medium-to-large firms. Using 1997 data collected through the ATP's Business Reporting System (BRS) from firms receiving ATP awards in 1993 through 1996, the report identifies factors contributing to the success of small firms in ATP competitions; and it addresses whether small firms are adopting effective strategies for success using ATP funding to accelerate R&D cycles and attract increased private funding and overcoming at least the initial hurdles to commercial success and broad diffusion of their technologies. For purposes of comparison, parallel analyses are presented for larger firms funded by the ATP during the same period. Whether or not the firm is a participant in a joint-venture project is examined as a source of variation in the results for small firms as compared with larger firms. The study finds that small companies have been successful in winning ATP awards in competition with larger firms. Their success likely relates to their ambitious plans for numerous applications, including many new-to-the-world and high-performance products. Small firms also appear to be following strategies for success cited in the literature. While collaborative activity is widespread across both small firms and larger firms, small firms are placing more emphasis on strategic alliances with customers and other supply chain linkages than larger firms and more frequently report significant effects of collaboration on identifying customer needs, and on raising capital. Most small firms as well as larger firms have experienced acceleration of their R&D in the critical race to market as a result of the increased levels of investment and of collaborative activity with other organizations.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6375
Report Number


Advanced Technology Program, collaboration, commercialization, program evaluation, small firms, technology


Powell, J. (1999), Business Planning and Progress of Small Firms Engaged in Technology Development Through the Advanced Technology Program, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed July 18, 2024)


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Created October 1, 1999, Updated October 16, 2008