The 2 Can’t-Miss Funds for US Innovators

When it comes to can’t-miss funding programs for small business innovators, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs are the first two incentives that come to mind.

The SBIR and the STTR, jointly known as “America’s Seed Fund,” are highly-competitive funding programs overseen by the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). Together, they flow about $2.5B in funding per year to encourage small businesses to engage in federal research and R&D activities with a view to commercialization.

Both programs are open to U.S.-owned and operated for-profit small businesses with less than 500 employees. STTR defers from the SBIR in that it seeks to partner the small business applicant with a nonprofit research institution.

Applicants typically proceed through three phases under the two programs:

  • Phase I. This Phase seeks to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed project and to determine the quality of performance of the small business. Phase I awards typically range between $50,000 and $250,000 for 6 months (SBIR) or 1 year (STTR).
  • Phase II. Phase II continues the project initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award of around $750,000 over 2 years.
  • Phase III. Here, the small business pursues commercialization objectives resulting from the two previous phases. The SBIR/ STTR programs do not fund Phase III. In some cases, businesses may receive follow-on non-SBIR/ STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes, or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.

Applications must be highly tied to the U.S. government’s R&D needs and objectives. In order to achieve this goal, 13 federal agencies publish SBIR/ STTR solicitations that call for specific innovations. Businesses and their partners can then respond to the calls. There are currently 83 different open solicitations as of June 15 ranging from renewable transportation fuels to addressing fertility regulation challenges.

Find these 83 solicitations and other government grants and incentives for your business today on Fundsearch.



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