Bear Runyan ran a successful small business, manufacturing cattle feeders in Mill Creek, Oklahoma. But when his company received more than $400,000 in federal grant money to research how to improve one of their feeders, the future growth potential of 3C Cattle Feeders stretched beyond his expectations. The money the company received was part of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
The Oklahoma State University New Product Development Center and Runyan have been recipients of multiple federal SBIR grants allowing them to modify one of the company’s traditional cattle feeders to deter wild hogs and other animals from scavenging food and spreading diseases. Traditional cattle feeders do not have a way to keep out other animals.
Through a connection with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, 3C Cattle Feeders was introduced to the OSU New Product Development Center. The center has worked with them to improve their current product line, develop their idea, write SBIR grants, conduct further research after receiving the grants and create a business plan to market new feeders.
“While the SBIR funding enables a company to do things a small business could never dream of doing on their own, the real benefit comes from working through the process,” said Dr. Daniel Tilley with the OSU New Product Development Center. “The process of applying for the grant makes a company start thinking differently about how they do business, how to improve their products and how to fulfill a need in the market.”
Because the federal SBIR application is time consuming, requiring staff time to complete the grants, OCAST provides bridge funding to financially help a company through the application process.
“Ranchers sometimes don’t realize the amount of feed that is lost to wild hogs and other wild animals. The stolen feed really adds up financially and is a problem seen all across the country.” – Bear Runyan