Developing Relationships within the SBIR Program – Part 1 – What is the SBIR Program?

By EARLE HAGER published SEPTEMBER 19, 2018

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The Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer programs are both considered small business set-asides and contain sunset provisions. Funds are restricted or set aside exclusively for use by small businesses in both of these initiatives. The Small Business Administration establishes size standards on an industry-by-industry basis using the North American Industry Classification or NAICS codes.

Though dynamically different, both programs share a common goal – to foster innovation among domestic small businesses engaged in Federal research and development activities. As such, both programs harness the entrepreneurial spirit for which the United Sates is recognized and will continue to evolve over time.

For more on the history of the SBIR program, click here.

In 2015, there were 17K SBIR Phase 1 proposals submitted.  Just under 17% of these applications were funded. You need to find a way to increase your chances.

We tend to view the SBIR process as a chance to explain our science.  We need to understand the requirements of the SBIR program managers and determine the best place for our applications.

SBIR and STTR funding is given to startup companies who develop new technologies or license a technology from another party.  The STTR program has a focus on university tech transfer offices.  Additional funding is developed through research programs, which may go directly to the university and can be used to further develop technology licensed by the startup.

The 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. For applicants, basing the company on university technology and university involvement increase your odds of being successful (30% or greater). For startups, the use of university technologies will ensure university support in the grant process.

The SBIR program works closely with other government agencies on funding and patent processes.  The SBIR program and their partners run programs on SBIR.  You can read about them here and here and here and here.

Learning the details of SBIR programs and planning your response is key to your success.



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