From offices in Boise, Post Falls, Twin Falls, and Pocatello, TechHelp Specialists help Idaho manufacturers, food processors and entrepreneurs improve their competitiveness through continuous product and process innovation.

TechHelp follows a “No Wrong Door” policy when working with our partners and affiliates. TechHelp ALWAYS does our best to line a client up with the right resource…EVEN IF THAT IS NOT US.  This page lists resources that can be helpful to Idaho manufacturers, processors, and inventors. Please feel free to send comments or suggestions to TechHelp at

The Idaho Small Business Development Center, including the Nampa Business Accelerator above, is one of many partners TechHelp works with to meet the needs of Idaho businesses.

Funding Sources

Few grants are available to start or expand a for-profit business unless you have invented a new technology. Most grants are available to non-profit and community organizations to expand their work or to fund special projects and activities. The State of Idaho maintains a comprehensive list of grant on its Idaho Biz Help page. 

Grant oriented conferences, websites, and books that say there is free money are probably scams. For information on a national grant scam that has been around for years, visit this website . You do not need to purchase books or pay for help to locate legitimate grant opportunities. The information is available for free on the Internet from government agencies and from your local specialists at TechHelp, the Small Business Development Center or SCORE office.

Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG):  Rural Business Development Grants are available from the USDA Rural Development Office to support assistance and training for small and emerging businesses in rural areas (check rural eligibility here). The goal of this program is to develop and expand rural businesses so that they can create a positive economic impact on the surrounding area.
RBDG Funds can be used for training and technical assistance, such as:

  • Business counseling & training, including TechHelp courses (up to 50% tuition waiver)
  • Product & service improvements
  • Leadership and project planning training
  • Market research & feasibility studies
  • Distance learning for job skills & advancement

TechHelp’s Regional Manufacturing Specialists can determine your eligibility, answer your RBDG questions and help with creating an application.

Workforce Development Training Funds (WDTF):  WDTF can reimburse employee training costs to eligible companies that are bringing jobs to Idaho, adding jobs through expansion, or upgrading skills of current workers who are at risk of being permanently laid off. The fund is financed by employers through an offset to the unemployment insurance tax. More Info Here.

State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP): These grants are a tremendous opportunity for Idaho companies in any industry to assist with export market development and promotion activities. Businesses looking to increase their exports, find new markets, or get involved in exporting for the first time are encouraged to apply. More Info Here

SBIR/STTR Grants: With few exceptions, most of the grants available to for-profit start-up businesses are SBIR and STTR grants (Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Research). If you have invented an innovative product that will serve the national interest, you may qualify for an SBIR or an STTR grant to help develop it. Grants are offered by 12 federal agencies through a competitive process. Information is available on the following websites:

Grants for Innovation: If you own an existing for-profit business (not a start-up) that is engaged in the development of new technologies or processes or your business uses natural resources in an innovative way, you may qualify for a grant to develop your technology. To find grant opportunities, see the following:

Made in America Grants: If your product is made in America and you have problems competing with foreign businesses, you may be eligible for assistance through the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center,


There are a host of non-profit organizations that invest in startups, including:

Other Programs: Special business assistance programs for women, minorities, veterans, the disabled, and others are available, but these are usually for low-interest loans, government contracting opportunities, and other types of assistance. They are rarely for grants.

Grants for Women: Zion’s Bank offers annual “Smart Women Smart Money” grants. The competitive grants are for $3,000 or less for special projects in the following areas:

  • Business
  • Community development
  • Continuing education and teacher support
  • Child and elder care
  • Health and human services
  • Arts and Culture

For information, see

Agriculture Loans and Grants: The Idaho Department of Agriculture offers several financial programs. See


Crowdfunding is a financing option designed to quickly raise funds by securing many small donations from many contributors. The most common type of crowdfunding involves soliciting donations from the public to start a business or launch a new product. Donors receive a special gift for donating. Two popular crowdfunding donation websites are Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.
About 30 percent of businesses meet their funding goal. If they don’t, the business receives no money and the funds that were raised are returned to the donors. Crowdfunding is most successful when a business needs to raise a modest amount of money in a short time. The median donation is $25 and the average donation is $70.
The most easily funded products are games, art, books, music, food, and fashion and design. Crowdfunding is not often successful for service businesses, websites, app development and any other business not offering a tangible product. Equity funding and debt funding are two other types of crowdfunding. Equity funding involves selling small amounts of equity in a business to a large network of purchasers. Crowdfunder is an example of equity crowdfunding. Debt funding involves providing microloans, usually to individuals in emerging nations. Kiva is an example of debt crowdfunding. 

Venture Capital: Finding venture capital may seem like the answer to many small business funding needs, and it may be if you have a solid business plan, a track record in your industry or a related one, a qualified management team, and you don’t mind giving up a piece of your business and having someone watching over your shoulder. Most venture capital firms invest several million dollars in the companies they fund and in return expect a management position within the company or a seat on the board of directors. To find a venture capitalist, ask your banker, attorney, or accountant for a recommendation to a company that specializes in your field and then arrange an introduction. (Most VCs don’t like cold calls.) Most venture capitalists prefer companies in rapidly growing industries, such as technology or biotechnology. Even then, only a small percentage of businesses (less than 1%) qualify for funding. Venture capital funding is a fertile field for scam artists. Before engaging in business, call the chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau in the community where the company is located and ask about them. Contact the Attorney General’s office in the state in which the business is located and ask if complaints have been filed against them.

Angel Investors: If your business is in the early start-up phase or you don’t need enough money to qualify for venture capital financing, seeking an angel investor may be more appropriate. Angel investors are wealthy individuals or groups that provide smaller amounts of money than venture capital firms. Like venture capitalists, angel investors usually prefer to invest in rapidly growing small businesses that will provide a high rate of investment return in a short time. They will expect a seat on the board and may also take a management position within the business. Your banker, attorney, or CPA may be able to arrange an introduction to an angel investor. Like venture capitalists, angel investors don’t usually like cold calls, and only a small percentage of businesses qualify for funding (less than one in 500). An online Venture/Angel Capital Resource Directory is found at The site matches investors with businesses seeking venture or angel capital. To find venture capital and angel investors interested in investing in Idaho businesses, do a search of the Resource Wizard. For more information on venture and angel capital funding, visit the Small Business Administration website at
Tax Incentives & Loans

Tax Incentives: Your business may qualify for tax incentives (tax credits) for certain business activities, such as creating new jobs in an economically depressed area, hiring the long-term unemployed, or bringing broadband to rural communities. Incentives are offered at both the state and federal levels. State programs are listed on the Idaho Department of Commerce website at To find federal tax incentives, make a search on the Internal Revenue Service website at

Agriculture Loans and Grants: The Idaho Department of Agriculture offers several financial programs. See

Energy Conservation: Loans and tax incentives for energy conservation programs are offered through the Idaho Office of Energy Resources at

Small Business Administration

Disaster Recovery

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Starting/Expanding Your Business

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Your Local SBA Office

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Financing Options

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Lenders Information

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SBA Questions

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Helpful Organizations

Marketing & Patent Research

University of Idaho Entrepreneurship Law Clinic – The Entrepreneurship Law Clinic (ELC) was established to provide third-year students with real-life experience handling transactional legal problems and to provide assistance to business owners and entrepreneurs in Idaho.

Patent Pro Bono Program – The University of Idaho College of Law administers the Idaho Patent Pro Bono Program, which facilitates the placement of qualified Idaho inventors seeking advice about the patent process with volunteer attorneys who are qualified to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Patent Resources in Idaho from the USPTO

Lobbying & Industry Advocacy

IACI – Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry
IACI represents about 300 Idaho employers of all sizes in such diverse fields as agriculture and food service, technology, accounting firms and banks, utilities, manufacturing and construction, as well as chambers of commerce from Idaho’s large and small cities and associations representing a wide variety of interests in this quest to shape policy for a bright economic future.

Technology Commercialization

ITC – The Idaho Technology Council is a member-driven organization committed to the success of Idaho’s technology ecosystem. Fostering growth, championing innovation and providing value for members through Professional Networks, Government Relations, Talent Development, and Sector Promotion. By bringing together industry, education and government leaders, ITC is the convener for great collaborations and experiences that make our state stronger and more vibrant.


TechHelp – Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center, EDA University Center

Idaho SBDC – Small Business Development Center offers dependable, no-cost coaching that helps you work on your business, not just in your business.

SCORE – Visit the home page of the Society of Retired Executives to find experienced business assistance in your local area.

Networking & Advocacy

Idaho Manufacturing Alliance Idaho Manufacturing Alliance


Idaho Departments of:

Labor – Idaho Department of Labor

Commerce – Idaho Department of Commerce

Agriculture – Idaho Department of Agriculture

Environmental Quality – Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

Economic Development

IEDA – Idaho Economic Development Associations

BVEP – Boise Valley Economic Partnership

Universities, Colleges & Community Colleges

Boise State University – Economic Development

University of Idaho – Economic Development

Idaho State University – Economic Development

College of Idaho

NIC – North Idaho College

CSI – College of Southern Idaho

CWI – College of Western Idaho

NNU – Northwest Nazarene

BYU Idaho – Brigham Young University – Idaho

Food & Agriculture

UDI – United Dairymen of Idaho

IDAIdaho Dairymen’s Association

IDPC – Idaho Dairy Products Commission

IMPA – Idaho Milk Processors’ Association

Idaho Potato Commission – Idaho Potato Commission

Food Producers of Idaho – Food Producers of Idaho

Idaho Forest Products – Idaho Forest Products Commission

Idaho Wine Commission – Idaho Wine Commision

US Dry Pea & Lentil Council – USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council

Northwest Food Processors Association – Food Northwest

Professional, Misc.

AMN – American Manufacturer Network

IDEC – Idaho District Export Council

ASME – The American Society of Mechanical Engineers

ASQ – The Global Voice of Quality

APICS – American Production and Inventory Control Society

SMTA – Surface Mount Technology Association

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