R.I. Commerce awards $225,000 in Innovation Vouchers

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Commerce Corp. board of directors on Tuesday awarded three Innovation Vouchers totaling nearly $225,000.

“When we meet businesses where they are and support their continued growth, we see a tangible and sizable impact. These programs work to help businesses achieve innovative breakthroughs while supporting their ability to continue their business development,” Gov. Daniel J. McKee said in a statement. “From a novel rescue kit for opioid overdose to an improved manufacturing process for next generation warfighter gear to robots that collect data in the ocean, Rhode Island is investing in the future through the Innovation Initiatives.”

The voucher program, launched in 2016, awards between $50,000 to 75,000 to companies with 500 employees or less, which can be used for research and development.


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Companies receiving Innovation Voucher Awards are:

  • Nimbus Research Laboratory LLC received $74,876 to fund modifications to the existing AdvanceBox prototype system based on end-users’ feedback from several pilot sites.
  • Jaia Robotics received $74,535 to fund access to the Roger Williams University Aquatic Diagnostic Lab to automate the eDNA pathogen detection process for aquaculture and other fisheries.
  • Kinesia Inc. received $75,000 to partner with the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering to study design options, develop a prototype and create a system integration and control algorithm for a proprioception/perturbation device for human rehabilitation through stimulation of various reflexes and movement patterns.

The Innovation Vouchers venture is one of two Innovation Initiative programs. The other, the Innovation Network Matching Grant program, which was launched in 2017, requires at least a 50% match from the applicant and allows third-party organizations “to expand their efforts to offer technical assistance, space on flexible terms, and/or access to capital to Rhode Island small businesses in key industries,” according to its website.

To date, the Innovation Initiative program has awarded a total of 118 Innovation Vouchers to 95 recipients, which have collectively created 315 new jobs, and has awarded 36 Network Matching Grants to 24 recipients between fiscal years 2016 and 2022.