Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants fund research and development efforts of a high risk nature that may have excellent commercial potential.
Small U.S. businesses are eligible to participate in the SBIR/STTR program. They must be for-profit businesses and have 500 or fewer employees. Nonprofit organizations are not eligible.
The mission of the SBIR/STTR programs is to support scientific excellence and technological innovation. The programs do this through the investment of Federal research funds in critical American priorities to build a strong national economy.
The Three Phases of SBIR/STTR Technology Funding
The SBIR Program is structured in three phases:
Phase I. The objective of Phase I is to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R/R&D efforts. This phase determines the quality of performance of the small business awardee organization prior to providing further Federal support in Phase II. SBIR/STTR Phase I awards are generally $50,000 – $250,000 for 6 months (SBIR) or 1 year (STTR).
Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I. The scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II must build forward from Phase I. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 for 2 years.
Phase III. The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is for the small business to pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. The SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III. At some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR/STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes or services intended for use by the U.S. Government.
Goals of the SBIR/STTR Funding
The SBIR/STTR initiative has many goals.
- Stimulate technological innovation.
- Meet Federal research and development needs.
- Foster and encourage participation in innovation and entrepreneurship by women and socially or economically disadvantaged persons.
- Increase private-sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development funding.
In addition, the STTR program aims to foster technology transfer through cooperative R&D between small businesses and research institutions. The STTR program requires small business to collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.
This presentation from the SBA is a good reference point for starting to learn about SBIR & STTR programs.
Simply search the Resource Navigator for SBIR or STTR to find organizations that can work with you to help you with these specific technology grants. Also be sure to check other WV BusinessLink funding pages!
Innovation-Technology (In-Tech) program
The WV Small Business Development Center’s Innovation-Technology (In-Tech) program was designed to provide no-cost, one-on-one assistance to introduce inventors and technology-based entrepreneurs to key commercialization issues such as intellectual property, alternative finance, prototyping and feasibility. The WV SBDC assists with the SBIR/STTR application process, in addition to technology transfer, IP support, licensing and product development cases.
Bridging the Ecosystem in Science and Technology in West Virginia
TechConnect West Virginia offers the Bridging the Ecosystem in Science and Technology in West Virginia (BEST In WV). This effort aims to increase the number of SBIR-STTR proposals and awards to fund innovative technology ideas from West Virginia-based applicants. TechConnectWV partners with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center in this effort. A STEM entrepreneur who is launching a business in any field using a science or technology-based product or service may benefit from the SBIR-STTR program. The BEST in WV offers training and resources to help your STEM-based small business learn how to navigate SBIRs and STTRs as a non-dilutive source of early stage funding.