Coworkers looking at SBIR Ultimate Guide

The Ultimate Guide for SBIR

SBIR Ultimate Guide

You’re a small business owner with a brilliant idea that could turn into a marketable product or service. You know there’s funding available for research and development through the (SBIR) Small Business Innovation Research and (STTR) Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

But you don’t know how to set the wheels in motion.

Team 80, your SBIR accounting experts, have set up the ultimate guide for SBIR resources to help your small business along your journey to landing Phase I & II awards.

Compare our Prices and Expertise Today.


SBIR FAQs

We understand the challenges small business owners face when it comes to doing business with the federal government. So we decided to pull together a list of frequently asked questions and resources to help you secure SBIR funding:

What is the SBIR Program?

SBIR stands for The Small Business Innovation Research program. It’s a highly competitive United States government program that awards grants and contracts to small businesses conducting early-stage research and development.

SBIR programs encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R&D) for innovative commercial ideas.

SBIR Application Process Illustration

What are the three phases of the SBIR program?

Phase I

Phase I establishes the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R&D efforts. The government generally awards $50,000 – $250,000 for six months or one year.

Phase II

Phase II continues the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. The government bases Phase II funding on Phase I results. They also base funding on the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II.

Phase III

Phase III helps small businesses 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

Do you have to be a Phase I awardee to be eligible for Phase II?

Yes, you must be a Phase I awardee to become eligible for Phase II. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 for two years.

Two Asian Researchers in laboratory glassware for the development of medicine

How do I apply for SBIR?

You can follow this link to start your SBIR application process.

How do I find an appropriate topic?

You can find a list of available SBIR topics here at the official U.S. government website for people who make, receive, and manage federal awards.

You can go here to explore the topics currently under trial.

Who is eligible to receive SBIR awards?

Small businesses must meet the following eligibility requirements at the time of Phase I and Phase II awards:

  • Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States
  • More than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States, or by other small business concerns that are each more than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States.
  • No more than 500 employees, including affiliates

Are non-profits eligible for SBIR awards?

No, but small businesses can use nonprofits as subcontractors.

What is an SBIR funding agreement?

An SBIR funding agreement is a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement between a small business and a Federal Agency participating in the SBIR program for research and development.

What are the performance benchmark requirements?

Small businesses must meet minimum performance requirements – you can familiarize yourself with those requirements here.

What agencies participate in the SBIR program?

There are currently eleven agencies participating in the SBIR program. Each agency accepts proposals from small businesses that match an opportunity from a list of designated R&D topics.

Here is a list of participating agencies:

Women in robotics laboratory working on project

SBIR Deadlines

  • Department of Agriculture – 10/25/2021
  • Department of Commerce
    1. NIST – 03/16/2021
    2. NOAA – 02/13/2021
  • Department of Defense:
    1. DoD 21.1 – 02/12/2021
    2. DoD 21.2 – 07/02/2021
    3. DoD 21.3 – 10/24/2021
  • Department of Education:
    1. Contracts – 01/21/2021
    2. Grants – 03/03/2021
  • Department of Energy – 10/24/2021

  • Department of Health & Human Services (NIH, CDC, FDA):
    1. PHS/NIH (Grants – 3 Closing Dates) – 01/05/2021, 05/05/2021, 09/05/2021
    2. PHS/NIH (Contracts) – 10/22/2021
  • Homeland Security 2021.1 – 01/22/2021
  • Department of Transportation 2021 – 03/20/2021
  • Environmental Protection Agency – 07/31/2021
  • NASA – 03/29/2021
  • NSF (4 Closing Dates) – 03/03/2021, 06/03/2021, 09/03/2021, 12/03/2021


SBIR Grant Writers


SBIR Accountant

Navigating the SBIR program journey can be daunting and time-consuming.

With over 20 years of experience working with agencies that participate in the SBIR program, Team 80 is an SBIR-approved accounting team that offers remote SBIR accounting services to help you navigate your STTR / SBIR Phase I & II journey. Let us take over so that you can get back to focusing on what matters!

  1. Team 80

woman's hand writing on a paper and holding a receipt in other hand at a table wit a laptop and calculator

SBIR Additional Resources

Department of Energy Lab Partnering Service – this is a resource for connecting investors with DOE experts to quickly answer innovation questions.

FLC Business-Your One-Stop Shop For U.S. Laboratory Information – this is a comprehensive list of federal laboratory resources.


Get in touch today to learn  more about how Team 80 can help with your SBIR accounting needs. There’s money out there for you – it’s time to take advantage of it.


Business Man Meeting Virtually with SBIR Grant Writer

SBIR Grant Writers

Did you know that 85% of SBIR applications are rejected (you can find a list of common SBIR application rejection causes here)?

SBIR grants are excellent for small businesses like yours, but you need to ensure your application is submitted error-free and with all of the necessary information to win the grant. And to do that, you’ll need an experienced (and vetted) SBIR grant writer.

Use our list of SBIR grant writers to find a skilled writer that will help ensure your application is accepted, and the funds are awarded.

SBIR Grant Writer Resources

Professional Writing SBIR GrantAfter a skilled STTR / SBIR grant writer expertly crafts your application, you'll need an accounting team to finish the proposal requirements. We offer remote SBIR accounting services help guide you on your STTR / SBIR Phase I & II journey.

Get in touch today to learn  more about how Team 80 can help with your SBIR accounting needs. There's money out there for you - it's time to take advantage of it.


Women sitting at table looking at laptop

TABA Explained: The Best Kept Secret in Startup Funding

You may be eligible for a whole lot of extra money that you didn’t even know about.

Every great product or service starts as an idea - or a dream. In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist with 3M, set out to create the world’s strongest adhesive. Eventually, the Post-It was born.

Dr. Silver had the backing and support of his employer to fund his research and bring the product to life (after years of R&D). We’ve simplified the journey from dream to iconic product, but your idea - your vision - is no different.team of four looking at research and development board

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you have a big idea that you’re passionate about bringing to market. But there’s also a good chance that you are missing out on a significant opportunity.

The government can fund your dream. Buckets of cash to help develop and launch innovative ideas are sitting unclaimed by dreamers like you.

We’re here to help your concept become a reality. You might already know about the SBIR and STTR award program, but do you know about TABA?

There are dollars available to you outside of the standard SBIR and STTR channels. But you need to know how to access those funds. That’s where TABA (and Team80) enter the scene.

Meet TABA, a resource that feels like one of the government’s best-kept secrets.

What is TABA?

Once referred to as Discretionary Technical Assistance (DTA) and Commercialization Assistance, TABA (the new term for this program) stands for the Technical and Business Assistance fund.

In simple terms, TABA helps you get additional funding over and above the SBIR/STTR grant budget cap so that you can pay for any commercialization and business costs not included with your SBIR/STTR proposal.

But you can only use SBIR award money for payroll, materials, supplies, and other business expenses or for the direct costs necessary to carry out your idea’s proposed research and development.

TABA is different. You cannot use TABA funds for research, development, and salaries, but you can use TABA funds for activities NOT covered under the SBIR grant, including (but not limited to):
Man and Women consultants for manufacturing looking at laptop in hardhats and safety jackets

  • Intellectual property
  • IP legal costs
  • Marketing
  • Market research
  • Customer discovery
  • Advisors and consultants for manufacturing plan development

Here’s another excellent TABA perk: you can choose your preferred professional to provide services. Legislation passed in 2018, allowing you to select an alternative vendor to assist you with commercialization. Now you can use someone you trust instead of a federal agency-selected professional.

Am I eligible for TABA?

If you have an active NIH, SBIR, or STTR Phase I award, or Phase I grant or contract within the last two years, then you could be eligible for TABA funds. However, you should know that if you’ve received multiple grant awards, they’ll only consider you for one project within the TABA program.

You’re also ineligible if you received TABA funds with your Phase I award. Still, you can consider requesting TABA in your Phase II application.

How do I request or apply for TABA?

“Generally, you must include TABA and vendor requests with your SBIR/STTR Phase I or Phase II proposal submission,” says Jim Casart, Team 80 founder and CEO. “However, some agencies, such as NSF and NIH, have made TABA available to any business with an active award within the past two years. The granting agency may restrict vendor selection for post-proposal TABA.”

The TABA application process is complicated since it varies among the participating agencies, but you shouldn’t worry. We’ll make the process easy so you can stay focused on realizing your dream.

What agencies participate in the TABA program?

There are nine agencies currently participating in the TABA program. Here’s a list of participating agencies and available funds:

AGENCY          PHASE I                  PHASE II
DOE                  $6,500                     $50,000
DOD                  $6,500                     $50,000
DOT                   $5,000                    $13,000
DHS                   $6,500                    $50,000
NASA                N/A                          $10,000
NSF                   N/A                         $50,000
NIST                  $6,500                    $6,500
NIH                    $6,500                    $50,000
USDA                $6,500                    $50,000

Why Team 80?

You have a dream, a big idea. And you have the opportunity not only to bring that dream to life but also to take care of your family, for generations in some instances.

Still, without an experienced partner to guide you through the SBIR, STTR, and TABA awards process, your big idea could wind up on the cutting room floor. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Carpe diem - It’s time to seize the day.

Through our participation in the GovCon Alliance, we can help you locate best-in-class assistance and coordinate the TABA section of your proposal submission.

We understand the confusing nuances of government accounting and have over 20 years of extensive experience working with agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR programs.

And we’re also familiar with the different submission and solicitation processes among the participating agencies. We can quickly provide what you need, along with submission instructions.

Our TABA services include:2 female and 1 male marketing professionals at desk working together

  • Market studies
  • Installation of government-compliant accounting systems
  • Establishing required policies and procedures for government contractors
  • Intellectual property strategy and implementation
  • Planning for Phase II follow-up proposals, including budgeting and commercialization components

Our mission is bigger than helping you access free government money. We have the opportunity to change your life and the lives of customers who can benefit from your innovative product or service. All you have to do is get in touch.

Stop wasting time mired in applications and paperwork and stay focused on your BIG idea. Let Team 80 take the wheel! Get in touch today!


Clients Fustrated with thier Bookkeepers Balance Sheets

15 Signs You Have a Bad Bookkeeper

You took an enormous risk starting a small business. Are you letting a lousy bookkeeper put it in jeopardy?

As a small business owner, the fear of failure is always in the back of your mind. When combined with the stress of financial management, that fear can turn into pure dread.

You’re an expert in your chosen field—you shouldn’t have to be an expert at balancing books, payroll, and forecasting, too.

And since you’re on top of things and aware, you’ve wisely outsourced your bookkeeping.

But have you hired a skilled bookkeeper?road warning sign with text risk in front of storm cloud background

The last thing you need is an outsourced accountant tanking your trust and dreams.

We’ve pulled together a list of red flags and warning signs to help you determine what kind of bookkeeper you’ve hired.

  1. Your Bookkeeper is Constantly Out of Reach

    As a small business owner, you need answers to finance-specific questions. And you need those answers fast. When your bookkeeper doesn’t return your phone calls or emails, it’s a significant problem.

    Trust is essential when it comes to outsourced bookkeeping.

    If you notice long stretches between replies from your bookkeeper, it’s time to ask why. There could be many reasons for the communication lapse. The bookkeeper might be overwhelmed or lacking communication skills. Or, it could be more serious.

    Maybe they don’t care?

    You need to set ground rules (if you haven’t already) and communicate your expectations around acceptable communication timelines

  2. They’re Constantly Behind on the Books

    It’s easy to lose track of finances when your bookkeeper is continuously behind on the books. You might start making fatal errors like spending more than the business earns.

    If your books are behind, then your business is behind. Growth is almost impossible when you’re regularly playing catch-up.

    You must set deadlines to ensure that your bookkeeper is on track if you want your small business to thrive.

  3. Your Bookkeeper is Panicked

    Tax filing might give you a panic attack, but it should be second nature to your bookkeeper. The accountant should remain calm, relaxed, and collected under every circumstance.Panicked and Overwhelmed Booker

    If managing tax documents, payroll information, and quarterly payments to prepare for tax prep causes your bookkeeper to become frazzled, you have a severe problem.

    A panicked accountant is a business threat.

    Their panic could indicate inexperience. And the last thing you want is a bookkeeper who is in over their head

  4. They Never Approach You With Ideas

    You’re so swamped with everyday business operations that you might be neglecting growth opportunities.

    Your bookkeeper should have a deep understanding of your day-to-day financials. They should also provide you with helpful feedback. Should you lower costs or increase revenue? A great bookkeeper will have the answers.

    If they aren’t coming to you with ideas and solutions to help push your company to the next level, ask them why.

  5. They Don’t Understand the Basic Terminology

    This one seems like a no-brainer, but many bookkeepers don’t have the slightest clue when it comes to basic accounting terminology.

    It’s not your responsibility to explain what cash vs. accrual means or the definition of accounts receivable.

    If your accountant doesn’t know the term “reconciliations,” run away!

  6. They Don’t Understand the Reports

    Your books are crucial for recording financial transactions and activities like sales, purchases, earnings, payments, etc. Recorded data allows you to determine monthly/annual revenue and anticipate and calculate payroll and tax payments.

    If your bookkeeper doesn’t understand your reports, accounts can be overdrawn, and you might find yourself in hot water with the IRS.

    Nobody wants an IRS audit.

    Failing to keep-up with numbers leaves you without a grasp of the money coming in and out of your business.

  7. They Constantly Pass Blame or Make Excuses

    It can drive you crazy. Your outsourced bookkeeper dropped the ball, and rather than getting a simple explanation, they make excuses and shift responsibility.

    Managing failure and disappointment is natural. But, there is a thin line between explanation and excuse, and the latter only delays the solution and blocks progress.

    As a business owner, you require a bookkeeper who can take accountability and execute a proper response to any mistake. A competent bookkeeper will be able to address an error and take control in making it correct.

  8. They Don’t Understand Reconciliation


    Proper bank statement reconciliation is crucial for every small business.

    When your numbers are off and discrepancies pop-up, your bookkeeper probably isn’t performing reconciliations regularly - or at all.

    Critical errors could go undetected if nobody verifies that your balance sheet transactions correspond with general ledger transactions.

    Improper reconciliation makes you susceptible to fraud, costly bank errors, and unauthorized withdrawals.

  9. Your Accountant Doesn’t Ask Questions

    Your outsourced bookkeeper must understand how your company operates to identify cost-cutting opportunities. They also need to ask questions to have this understanding.

    If your bookkeeper is afraid to ask questions out of the fear of appearing unqualified or inexperienced, they’re letting ego get in the way of good business tactics.

  10. They’re Unable To Provide Answers To Their Work

    You’ve noticed bounced checks. And this morning, you saw old transactions in your Quickbooks undeposited funds windows! What is going on?

    Your accounts probably aren’t managed regularly or adequately reconciled by your outsourced bookkeeper.

    When you ask your bookkeeper what’s happening, they can’t provide answers or insight.

    Minor mistakes are inevitable, but a good bookkeeper is willing to go over routine tasks with you to establish what went wrong.

  11. They Don’t Let You See the Books or Give You Access to Your Accounting System

    Is your bookkeeper holding your records hostage? Is looking at your data like pulling teeth?

    With today’s cloud-based accounting software, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have complete data access.

    Put your foot down. Tell your accountant you want shared-access to the books. If they are reluctant to share that access with you, it’s time to work with someone who will.

  12. They Don’t Understand Balance Sheets

    The business has gone up, but your cash balance doesn’t reflect the increases. Where is that cash? The answer should be on your balance sheet.

    Not everyone knows what to look for on their balance sheet or profit and loss statement. Still, an experienced bookkeeper will analyze the assets, liabilities, and equities data.

    Your balance sheet is a snapshot of your business’ financial health. If you have any trouble identifying cash-flow problems, it might be time to seek another bookkeeper.

  13. Coding Inconsistencies

    Incorrect and inconsistent coding can take hours to rectify and cost your company thousands; it’s usually an honest mistake.

    But entering incorrect accounting codes is a significant problem. Coding helps classify, record, and group all your transactions.

    Wrong accounting codes can cause you to miss out on tax savings. Incorrect coding might also impact tax claims. In extreme circumstances, it can indicate your bookkeeper is stealing money. Either way, misclassifications can land you in hot water.

  14. Your Accountant Is Patronizing

    The person handling your finances must be the expert. But do you need that experience and expertise delivered with condescension?Patronizing Accountant on Phone with Client

    Nobody likes being talked down to - the behavior isn’t conducive to a productive workplace. You wouldn’t let your staff treat you poorly, so why let your bookkeeper get away with it?

    Be open with your bookkeeper. Let them know the terms with which you are comfortable speaking. You shouldn’t feel belittled because you aren’t up on the latest financial jargon.

  15. Your Bookkeeper is Controlling

    Have you noticed that your bookkeeper wants complete, unsupervised control of your business’ financial management? If so, it’s time to start investigating why.

    As we’ve already mentioned, trust is critical. When a bookkeeper wants to take control of everything inexplicably, your confidence can be a little shaken.

    Handing over unsupervised access to your bookkeeper is like running your company blind. Some bookkeepers wind up stealing from a business because the business owners made it easy.

    Your bookkeeper should be a business partner. You can avoid theft and mismanagement through collaboration.

If you’re feeling uncertain about your bookkeeper, it may already be too late!

Is it time to find a new accounting team? Team 80 offers full transparency, and we might save you money. Call us today!


Small Business Innovation Research Team

2021 SBIR Deadlines: Simplifying The Process With Team 80

SBIR Deadlines

It’s easy. You’re a small business that has won the Phase I award through the SBIR program, and we are the accounting team that will help you through all the hurdles of winning the Phase II award.

You’ve just pushed through Phase I of the process and chances are pretty likely that you are feeling a little fatigued right now. It’s no surprise. You’ve just successfully established the technical merit and feasibility of your innovative idea, and because of your efforts, you’ve secured an award in a highly competitive program. That’s no small feat!

However, you’re not even close to being out of the woods yet. The standard SBIR deadlines for 2021 are coming up* at the beginning of January, and you haven’t even begun to write your proposal for Phase II. And that is not even the half of it.

JUMP TO THE SBIR DEADLINES

We Are Your SBIR Accounting Experts

Did you know that if an SBIR agency is even considering granting you a Phase II award, they may require an in-depth pre-award “survey”? When it comes to Phase I of the SBIR program, the awards are typically smaller (no more than $150,000) so the government only expects a rudimentary system when it comes to your accounting. However, in Phase II the expectations will change drastically. Suddenly there is a LOT more money (up to $1 million compared to the possible $150,000 from Phase I) and the government will need to feel absolutely confident that your small business has a flawless accounting system.

Black Women and Three MenLooking at Computer Screen

Right now, having an experienced accounting team that is well versed in all of the unique government rules required by the Federal Accounting Regulations is crucial. Don’t let this intimidate or discourage you; here comes the good part:

At Team 80, we understand ALL of the challenges you have yet to face and we are here to help further the R/R&D efforts that you’ve worked incredibly hard to initiate in Phase I. Allow us to take the confusing, complicated burden that is the SBIR program off your shoulders!

With over 20 years of extensive experience in government accounting, and having worked directly with agencies that participate in the SBIR programs, Team 80 has been able to successfully help small businesses (like yours) propose and WIN the SBIR research grants needed to develop their innovative ideas.

Using a “back-office accounting” approach, we provide an all-in-one solution for all of your accounting needs so that you don’t need to hire internally. We promise to save you money and time, and we utilize cloud-based accounting solutions, giving our expert help to set you up and keep you running smoothly with your specific SBIR accounting needs.

We also understand that many people are currently working from home right now which is why we offer remote SBIR accounting services.

  • Department of Agriculture – 10/25/2021
  • Department of Commerce
    1. NIST – 03/16/2021
    2. NOAA – 02/13/2021
  • Department of Defense:
    1. DoD 21.1 – 02/12/2021
    2. DoD 21.2 – 07/02/2021
    3. DoD 21.3 – 10/24/2021
  • Department of Education:
    1. Contracts – 01/21/2021
    2. Grants – 03/03/2021

  • Department of Health & Human Services (NIH, CDC, FDA):
    1. PHS/NIH (Grants – 3 Closing Dates) – 01/05/2021, 05/05/2021, 09/05/2021
    2. PHS/NIH (Contracts) – 10/22/2021
  • Department of Energy – 10/24/2021
  • Homeland Security 2021.1 – 01/22/2021
  • Department of Transportation 2021 – 03/20/2021
  • Environmental Protection Agency – 07/31/2021
  • NASA – 03/29/2021
  • NSF (4 Closing Dates) – 03/03/2021, 06/03/2021, 09/03/2021, 12/03/2021

So, you have made it this far in your SBIR journey–why not let us take over from here so that you can get back to focusing on what matters most?