CME SMART Program Update

In this week’s post I wanted to share information about amazing equipment and technology I’d seen at CMTS-2015 last week. But the circumstances changed a little bit. I attended SMART program seminar this Tuesday and had a chance to interview program management. There are important updates to share with you.

1. Competition. The program currently has 500 eligible applications per 50 available spots that must be filled in the next 4-6 months. Thus 9 out of 10 eligible and legitimate applications will have to be rejected no matter how good they were written and no matter how good the proposed project or applying company is.

2. Pre-Submission System
. The program will soon launch a pre-submission system that will tell applicants their chances without submitting full-blown lengthy applications. But there is no timeline when the system becomes available. We will keep you posted.
3. Software vs Equipment Funding. Generally it is more challenging to have application approved for software purchasing projects versus equipment purchasing projects.

4. Advanced Technology. The key success factor of the application is advanced technology. The technology must be advanced not only for the applicant but also must be the latest technology in the industry. Advanced technology must result in significant surge in productivity, creating export market opportunities, job growth, quality improvement and new capabilities. Purchasing a piece of equipment to just increase the capacity without the benefits listed above is NOT eligible

5. Job Growth. Adoption of advanced equipment such as industrial robots frequently results in laying off employees. The program will accept this only under condition that the jobs will be created indirectly within the company. The artificial example is: the applicants buy a welding robot, lays off a welder, but hires two additional shippers to dispatch increased volume of good as a result of the technology adoption. The net job growth in this example is 2-1=1.

6. Corporations only are eligible. Partnerships are not. The corporation must be 2 years in business to qualify. If the applicant starts a new corporation for, let’s say, a new facility, the new facility is not eligible.


Igor Chigrin
Business Funding Expert