Commercialization Support

Program Overview

The Commercialization and Financial Support program helps NRRI partners' move their business ideas forward. 

What We Do

The path from idea to commercialization is not easy.  We help move ideas along by:

  • Identifying and connecting ideas to available funding
  • Coordinating scale-up activities
  • De-risking technology development through NRRI research
  • Introducing businesses to external networks that can help them

Who We Help

  • NRRI Clients
  • NRRI Researchers
  • NRRI Partners
  • Entrepreneurs

How We Do It

  • Applying nearly 50 years of commercialization experience
  • Leveraging partnerships with external stakeholders
  • Collaboration with UMN Launchpad to support entrepreneurs

Where Are We Located

NRRI Duluth and Coleraine facilities

Our Resources

  • IRRRB/NRRI Commercialization Fund
  • The Business Assistance Fund in partnership with Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and the Blandin Foundation
  • DEED Launch MN Grants
  • Extensive research labs
  • Prototyping and Pilot equipment and facilities
  • NRRI Launchpad - entrepreneurial support program

Expand all

The Business Assistance Fund

The Business Assistance Fund

NRRI can help you bring your idea to market faster, with less risk and at a lower cost.

The Business Assistance Fund provides financial assistance to businesses and entrepreneurs to:

  • provide access to NRRI expertise, labs and technologies.
  • drive business development to create jobs and a strong economy.

Current Funders and Available Opportunities

  • USDA's State Wood Innovation Team Grant: This is a limited funding opportunity for innovations in the forest products industry. It supports small businesses to develop ideas that will increase the use of low value wood in areas of high wildfire risk, reducing the cost of forest management. Apply for the USDA grant HERE.
  • Blandin Foundation: NRRI received funds from The Blandin Foundation to support businesses and entrepreneurs in Itasca County and communities of  Hill City, Remer, Blackduck, and Northome. We partner with Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) to provided technical, R&D, business, and financial expertise to the businesses. Apply for the Blandin grant HERE.

Applicants will be led through a 4-step process


  • Meet criteria of the individual funders.
  • Technology must be wholly owned by the company with rights to operate.
  • Company must follow University of Minnesota's Intellectual Property and Grant of Rights.


  • Project must be within the skillsets of NRRI.
  • Initiator must be able to provide in-kind and cash match contributions.
  • Documentation of positive foreseen impacts of the project for the business.
  • Provide a reasonable scope for delivery and commercialization.

For more information about this funding possibility contact Tim White, Business Development & Intellectual Property Manager, email: or by phone: 218-788-2756.


Coleraine Site Director, Business Development
Director of Business Development