TayCo Brace Awarded SBIR Grant to Aid Service Members with Ankle Injuries

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (May 18, 2020) — TayCo Brace, LLC has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant from the United States Air Force (USAF) to measure the benefits of using the TayCo Brace on active and retired service members.   

The TayCo Brace is an innovative new ankle brace that fits outside the patient’s own footwear, replacing the traditional walking boot. The grant was awarded through AFWERX, a technology accelerator division of the USAF to foster a culture of innovation and solve some of the toughest challenges of the USAF. AFWERX partners with the SBIR program to help small business innovators implement their ideas to solve USAF problems.  TayCo Brace, LLC will work with Air Force podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons to return service members to their normal mobility faster than in a walking boot.  

Companies across the country compete for Phase I awards by submitting research that addresses key issues and have the potential for commercialization.

“TayCo Brace is excited to receive the award to support the development of this technology that will improve the health and quality of life for our service members,” said TayCo’s Gavin Ferlic.

Because they received a Phase I award, TayCo Brace will now be eligible to apply for Elevate Venture’s state match funding through the 21st Century Research & Technology Fund and compete for a Phase II award to further develop and commercialize the technology.  

This award demonstrates an important success for the company and reflects the South Bend – Elkhart region’s increasing focus on innovation and R&D activities within regional industries, as well as the intentional pursuit of new markets and new products lines to diversify existing customer bases, said John Miller, chair of Startup South Bend – Elkhart, an initiative of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership.  

With over $2.5 billion awarded annually within the U.S., the SBIR/STTR program presents a considerable opportunity for small businesses in the Region to fund innovation and development activities. These funds also present a ripe opportunity for regional industry partners to leverage the assets and experience of local universities with federal funding agencies.   

TayCo is one of several companies that have successfully pursued SBIR funding and is moving the needle as we work collaboratively to create more high-skilled jobs in the Region, reinforce the entrepreneurial momentum, and increase the prosperity for innovative existing businesses, further diversifying the overall industrial mix and attracting and retaining talent to the Region. 

About the SBIR Program 
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs. 

About TayCo, LLC 
The TayCo Brace was the creation of Mike Bean, the head trainer with the University of Notre Dame’s Football Program. The company was formed through the Notre Dame IDEA Center when Dr. Frederick J. Ferlic, M.D. joined with Bean to commercialize the product and bring faster recovery to patients around the world. Ferlic practiced sports medicine for nearly 40 years in South Bend, IN, as a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, specializing in lower extremities. The TayCo Brace is made in the U.S.A. and is based in South Bend, IN. For more information visit: www.Taycobrace.com  

About Startup South Bend – Elkhart  
Startup South Bend – Elkhart, one of the South Bend Elkhart Regional Partnership’s (SBERP) non-profit initiatives, has been working to promotand foster the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem by stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit and culture in its citizens, identifying and nurturing new business startups and supporting the growth of existing highpotential businesses. For more information, visit www.StartupSouthBendElkhart.com 

Media Contacts: 
Nate Lazenga
TayCo Brace, LLC
(574) 904-4994nlazenga@taycobrace.com 

Regina Emberton
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
574.344.4686 ext.4802, remberton@southbendelkhart.org