The Utah Technology Finance Corp. is opening the 10th round in its Small Business Innovation Program by soliciting proposals for funding of product development.

Up to $50,000 can be advanced by UTFC to applicants with meritorious proposals with payback to UTFC being made through royalties based on product sales, said Richard E. Turley, executive director. Small businesses or individuals in Utah are eligible for funding.Topics must involve new technologies or innovative adaptions of existing processes, products or services. These new technologies or adaptions must have significant potential for establishing or expanding a Utah business and creating jobs due to their likely technical and commercial success.

Turley said preference is given to proposals which provide evidence of commitments for follow-on funding and which demonstrate an adequate plan to carry the technology or product to market.

Applications are due by 5 p.m Tuesday, March 19. Applications can be obtained from the UTFC, c/o Utah Engineering Experiment Station, 104 Engineering Minerals Research Office, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.

Coincidentally with the SBIP announcement, Turley was the guest speaker Thursday to the Mountain-West Venture Group in the Marriott Hotel, when he traced UTFC's history from 1983 when it was created by the Legislature.

Before UTFC could begin to function, the Utah attorney general's office claimed the law creating the organization was unconstitutional and filed a lawsuit. The Utah Supreme Court said UTFC could operate, but couldn't maintain an equity position with small firms receiving funding.

Turley said UTFC funding usually comes in the seed capital phase of a company's history, just after entrepreneurs or their friends put up some money.

Also attending the meeting were officials of SoftSolutions, Orem, a computer software company for law firms and legal departments in corporations; Terminal Connexions, a company that designs, produces and sells electronic equipment for IBM mainframe computers; and VaporFab, a company that vapor plates fabrics. Each of these companies received money from UTFC.