Black Female accountant working at her desk

Accounting by the Numbers: Basic Requirements for SBIR Projects

To secure government funding for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs, entrepreneurs must have their accounting in order. 

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding requires a solid compliant accounting system, no matter which federal agency awards grants or contracts. Small businesses must deliver Direct and Indirect Costs, as well as timesheets, to receive funding. Contracts such as Firm-Fixed Price (FFP) and Cost-Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF) denote the type of funding companies can receive. 

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You’ve done it! After weeks, months, or even years of technically challenging work, you’ve scored an award through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program from one of the 11 participating federal agencies. 

But now is not the time to rest on your laurels—instead, it’s time to crunch the numbers and adequately manage your funds. 

A fully fleshed-out accounting system ensures you use your SBIR funds correctly, guarding against any sort of government audit. This keeps your small business out of trouble and in the position to receive additional funding down the road. 

In this blog, we’ll blueprint all of the SBIR accounting basics you need—no matter which government agency is delivering your well-deserved funds. 

What is an Acceptable SBIR Accounting System?

Think of it like this: when you receive funds through an SBIR program, you are entering into a business relationship with the U.S. government, which just so happens to be the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world. 

With the sheer volume of business it undertakes, the government boasts a lot of rules—both written and unwritten—in a highly sophisticated system with stiff penalties for any financial transgressions. 

You want to be organized, with all of your government billings and annual incurred cost submissions laid out in detailed job cost reports. Forming the foundation of this information is one easy-to-reference document called a Chart of Accounts (COA), an index of the financial accounts in a company’s general ledger. 

An all-encompassing COA organizes your business’ financial activity into assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. It creates simple, consistent language across your organization so that you can face any government audit with confidence and have the paperwork to back you up.

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What’s the Difference Between Direct, Indirect, and Unallowable Expenses?

At its core, and in the eyes of a government auditor, an acceptable SBIR accounting system demonstrates your ability to segregate the different kinds of expenses listed in your general ledger. These are separated as either Allowable or Unallowable expenses. Breaking it down even further, these expenses (or costs) are organized as:

Let’s define each of these expenses for your SBIR/STTR cost proposal.

Direct Costs

This constitutes the bulk of your government funding and includes the cost of goods and services that are specifically for the benefit of your SBIR project. 

Direct costs constitute expenses incurred by performing specific work on a project, contract, or grant objective. These costs, often engineering or research labor-related, are geared specifically to fulfill a contracted goal. Direct costs also can include materials and equipment, subcontractor costs, and travel expenses directly related to the research project.

Indirect Costs

Indirect Costs are supportive expenses that buoy the success of the project and your organization. Generally speaking, Indirect Costs should not exceed 40 percent of the direct costs. 

These expenses include (but are not limited to) utilities, administrative labor costs, accounting fees, telephone and internet expenses, rent, employer’s portion of payroll taxes, some legal fees, and indirect labor, which refers to vacation, holiday, and sick time. 

Depending on the federal agency, Indirect Costs are often referred to as “Overhead (OH),” “General and Administrative (G&A),” or “Selling, General, and Administrative (SG&A).”

Both Direct Costs and Indirect Costs are considered Allowable under the federal government’s SBIR guidelines. As opposed to …

Unallowable Expenses

There are some expenses the government will absolutely not reimburse, as these components do not bestow any benefits on the federal agencies doling out the funds. Examples of unallowable expenses could include federal income taxes, donations, fines, penalties, and late fees, along with first-class travel and alcohol. 

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What are Indirect Rates?

Part of the accounting process when dealing with government-funded SBIR programs involves calculating your business’ Indirect Cost Rate. Your Indirect Rate determines the amount of money the government will award your entity for any Indirect Costs incurred during your SBIR project. 

Indirect Rates are unique to each small business and startup—this means you should never use another company’s Indirect Rate, and you should also readjust yours frequently. 

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Who is the Principal Investigator?

All ships need a captain, and in the world of SBIR programs, that individual is known as the Principal Investigator (PI). 

Every SBIR proposal must designate a single individual to take on the overall responsibility of the project, including all coordinating and executing efforts. This person must possess the education, work ethic, and project management experience necessary to see the project to the finish line. 

No matter the federal agency awarding the funds, the PI must be primarily employed by the small business in question during the award period. The PI cannot be used full-time anywhere else during the SBIR award process.

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What is Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31 in SBIR Accounting?

Earlier in this article, we discussed the potential for stiff penalties should your SBIR accounting not be in order. All government contractors—that is, for-profit companies that produce goods and services under contract with the government—need to know exactly which costs are reimbursable and how these costs should be accounted for. 

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31 (Cost Principles and Procedures) establishes the cost principles and procedures that guide small businesses in SBIR programs and government contractors. This set of protocols works to maintain consistency between the varied accounting methods used by contractors—and all funding applicants must follow these protocols so that federal agencies can swiftly review costs and approve reimbursements of appropriate expenses.

To be considered reimbursable under FAR Part 31, costs have to meet a set of criteria:

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  • Costs must be reasonable. The PI and their team need to ensure that materials and equipment are purchased at a reasonable price.
  • Funds must be appropriately allocated. Expenses are only reimbursable if you can prove that the cost is necessary and beneficial to the project.
  • Costs must be recorded and submitted. Expenses should be duly noted according to Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), a set of 19 government-authored standards.
  • Expenses should adhere to the terms of the contract. Costs that are expressly unallowable should be left out, with no exceptions. However, some questionable expenses are considered circumstantial and are subject to review.

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What are Firm-Fixed Price (FFP) and Cost-Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF) Contracts Under SBIR?

There are two primary forms of contracts used in SBIR programs: Firm-Fixed Price (FFP) and Cost-Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF). These types of contracts are awarded by the Department of Defense and other agencies that focus on construction, as opposed to other agencies like the National Science Foundation, which issues SBIR STTR awards in the form of grants. 

The differences between FFP and CPFF contracts boil down to when they apply (Phase I or Phase II) and how they define the reimbursement process.

Firm-Fixed Price (FFP)

For the most part, Phase I contracts are FFP. Under this contract, the government and the contractor (the small business) agree to a fixed price that cannot be adjusted no matter what costs befall the project. With FFP contracts, the contractor bears all the cost risk and must deliver the product even if it costs more than the amount of the contract. This means that all deliverables must be precisely accounted for.

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Cost-Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF)

Phase II contracts can be either FFP or CPFF, a cost-reimbursement contract. Under a CPFF contract, the federal agency reimburses the contractor for allowable costs, along with a fee. As such, a CPFF sees the government bear the bulk of the risk. However, the contractor must make satisfactory progress and deliver the end product described in the contract to earn the fee. 

There’s generally more government oversight at the completion of a CPFF contract, and an “incurred cost” audit is required before the fees are paid. And to be paid, the contractor must submit an approved invoice. This makes a CPFF contract more complex to administer while attaching more cost regulations for contractors to sort through. Another reason why a competent accounting system is a must!

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What is the Defense Contracting Audit Agency (DCAA), and How Does it Factor Into SBIR?

When a federal agency considers awarding you Phase II funding to continue your research, your company will be subject to an auditing process. Many of 11 federal agencies that dole out SBIR awards—except for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)—rely on the Defense Contract Auditing Agency (DCAA) to perform this auditing task. 

The DCAA includes two mandatory components in its evaluation:

  • An assessment of your company’s financial stability.
  • An evaluation of the adequacy of your accounting system. 

There are also two optional components that the DCAA might dig into:

  • An evaluation of the indirect rates you propose to charge on a Phase II project.
  • A confirmation that you are up-to-date on your payroll tax deposits. 

The DCAA offers a guide, Information for Contractors, to give small businesses a window into how these “pre-award surveys” are conducted. Though not specific to SBIR, this guide is helpful to any contractor with a pending government audit.

In terms of your accounting system, there are 10 requirements that you must meet to satisfy DCAA. Those requirements are:

  1. Proper segregation of direct costs from indirect costs.
  2. Identification & accumulation of direct costs by contract.
  3. Logical & consistent method for allocating indirect costs.
  4. Accumulation of costs under general ledger control.
  5. A timekeeping system.
  6. A labor distribution system charging direct and indirect labor appropriately.
  7. Interim determination of costs charged to a contract.
  8. Exclusion of unallowable costs.
  9. Identification of cost by contract line item.
  10. Segregation of pre-production from production costs.

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The one accounting requirement that seems to cause the most heartache among small businesses is #5—the dreaded timekeeping system. So let’s dig into that one a bit more.

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SBIR Agencies and Timesheets

There are horror stories about small businesses being unaware of the timesheet requirement until after the government auditor shows up and asks to evaluate indirect rate charges. Imagine the panic and utter despair of that situation!

Small businesses that receive federal contracts and grants must keep timesheets, with no exceptions. Without timesheets as part of your accounting arsenal, you have no way to prove how much of your employees’ time was spent writing proposals, preparing and updating commercialization plans, and more. And guess what? Your employees’ time is the most significant single indirect cost your small business will incur during the SBIR program.

And timesheets are not only required by agencies such as the Department of Defense (DoD), which issues awards as contracts. Even agencies that award funds in the form of grants, like the NIH and NSF, expect timecards as part of your accounting practices. 

Check out this example of an NIH timesheet to get an idea of what is expected of you and your team as you track your indirect costs.

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What is the Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS), and How Does it Relate to SBIR?

The Division of Financial Advisory Services (DFAS) is related to the NIH. Responsible for negotiating and establishing indirect cost rates, DFAS works exclusively with small businesses that receive federal awards from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which deploys the NIH.

More specifically, the DFAS Indirect Cost Branch is responsible for calculating the federal awards from the HHS. The Indirect Cost Branch works with small businesses to zero in on reimbursement rates for contracts and grants, ensuring these figures are based on actual costs and are adjusted according to standards and rules as they are applied to SBIR programs.

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Working With Your SBIR Accountant and CPA

When word comes down that you’re about to receive an SBIR grant or contract, the excitement can overwhelm even the most seasoned innovative minds. After all, this is what you’ve been working toward for months, if not years! But that excitement is tempered when the government auditors come calling. 

There’s one surefire way to prove your SBIR accounting system and ensure that you and your team are entirely audit-ready—partner with an accounting firm with extensive experience in the world of SBIR programs and government contracts and grants. 

Most accounting firms and CPAs are general practitioners graced with a wealth of tax knowledge. However, most do not specialize in government award accounting. 

This means they aren’t well-versed in FAR Part 31 and have never represented a client during a pre-award audit with the DCAA or DFAS. They might also not understand the nuances of different indirect rate structures, nor do they know how to approach a government official when a structural error in an indirect rate is discovered.

Team 80 specializes in government contract and grant accounting. We have represented numerous companies during DCAA, and DFAS audits and know what to look for in negotiating incurred cost rate agreements. And yes, we know what to do when it comes to those ever-present SBIR project timesheets. 

Our systems, deployed and managed by government grant and contract experts, take the accounting specifics off of your desk. This empowers you to focus on the project and increases your chances of securing government funding for your innovative idea.

Team 80 CEO Sarah Sinicki

Sarah Sinicki

Team 80 CEO

Sarah is a leader focused on serving small businesses in various industries. She has worked with a multitude of companies over the last 25 years and loves helping business owners find success. Sarah is genuinely committed to unburdening Team 80 clients so that they have the freedom to focus on their business. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her husband, two kids, and her Yorkies, Marley and Ziggy. When she is not helping business owners, you can find her in a Reb3l Groove class dancing it out. Sarah is also an avid Colorado Avalanche fan, so if you ever want to talk about hockey, she’s your gal.

United States Environmental Protection Agency Plaque On National EPA Building

Everything You Need To Know About the EPA SBIR Program

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Business Innovation Research program requires a deep knowledge of the federal government’s funding processes. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program financially supports marketable ideas that benefit the environment and people. The EPA SBIR includes topics such as Air Quality, Clean and Safe Water, Risk Assessment, Safer Chemicals, Homeland Security, and Sustainable Materials Management.

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The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program awards small businesses of all types the resources they need to create a solution to all manner of issues facing society. Nowhere is that more pressing than in environmental concerns. 

Tasked with addressing those problems is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a department in the federal government that works to protect the country from environmentally borne health risks through research and development. 

What Does EPA SBIR Stand For?

“EPA” refers to the Environmental Protection Agency, a department in the federal government that awards funds through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The EPA is one of 11 federal agencies participating in the SBIR program, giving small businesses the financial boost necessary to get countless ideas off the ground.

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What is the EPA SBIR Mission?

When the EPA launched in 1970 under President Richard Nixon, pollution had already been out of control for decades. There were reports that 400 New Yorkers succumbed to pollution in 1963, while a California oil spill in 1969 decimated the local bird population. Widespread environmental concerns culminated later that same year when a Cleveland stretch of the Cuyahoga River burst into flames due to the deadly combination of an oil slick and the sparks of a passing train. 

That disaster served as the springboard for the EPA’s ultimate mission: To protect the environment and, by extension, human health through policies, research, and development. 

And that’s where the EPA SBIR’s mission comes into play. This federal program is essential to providing small businesses with the financial means to transform their environmentally minded idea from research to reality. 

Every federal agency with a research and development (R&D) budget of more than $100 million is required by law to initiate an SBIR program. 

The SBIR program provides one way to award R&D funding to small businesses directly for the EPA. The goal of the EPA’s SBIR Program is to support the commercialization of innovative technologies that help support the EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. 

As is the case of all federal agencies, the EPA’s SBIR program is split into phases. So, first, let’s look at EPA SBIR Phase I and Phase II details.

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The initial phase of the EPA’s SBIR program requires small businesses to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of proposed R&D efforts. 

  • How Much Funding Does EPA Award for Phase I?

The EPA calls on small businesses to apply for its SBIR Phase I, awarding up to $100,000. Each awardee must demonstrate proof of concept in several environmentally-minded areas, such as clean and safe water, air quality, sustainable materials management, risk assessment, safer chemicals, and even homeland security. 

  • How Long is the EPA’s SBIR Phase I?

Small businesses awarded through the EPA SBIR Phase I program have six months to complete concept development. Subsequent funding in Phase II is based on the results of Phase I.

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The second phase of the EPA’s SBIR program continues all of the efforts that started in Phase I. Phase II funding is also based on the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II.

  • How Much Funding Does EPA Award for Phase II?

The EPA awards up to $400,000 to each small business that completes the requirements of EPA SBIR Phase II. There’s also a commercialization option of up to $100,000 to further develop the technology for the marketplace.

  • How Long is the EPA’s SBIR Phase II?

The EPA’s SBIR Phase II award is good for two years of R&D work. At that point, the technology is taken to market—there is no Phase III in the EPA’s SBIR program.

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How Do I Apply for an EPA SBIR Award?

To apply for an SBIR award from the EPA, you need to start with the basics. That means developing a ground-breaking, innovative research idea that can be commercialized. From there, you need to learn about eligibility, your proposal requirements, and more.

Follow the federal government’s roadmap for applicants for a step-by-step guide through this SBIR application process.

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What are the EPA Solicitation Topics/Broad Focus Areas?

The EPA SBIR program is segmented into six broad solicitation topics, each one covering a dire need to protect the environment and, by extension, protect the health and safety of citizens. Here’s a list of solicitation topics, along with areas of concern that have received funding in the past:

  • Clean and Safe Water: Retrofit technologies to improve the operation of stormwater management infrastructure; technologies to process environmental samples of microplastics; modular decentralized non-potable water reuse for urban applications.
  • Air Quality: Air monitoring technology for air toxics; technologies to reduce exposure to radon in buildings; air monitoring technology for methane from oil and gas storage tanks.
  • Homeland Security: Air treatment methods to reduce the risk of transmitting viruses and bacteria in enclosed or semi-enclosed environments.
  • Sustainable Materials Management: Innovative technologies that will improve the U.S. recycling system; low impact construction materials and technologies to reduce embodied carbon in buildings; innovative technologies that help consumers prevent food waste in the acquisition, preparation, and storage of food.
  • Safer Chemicals: Microphysiological systems for predictive toxicology; post application pesticide drift predictor; PCB-free color technologies.
  • Risk Assessment: Software tools and machine-learning applications for systematic review in science.

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Do I need an External Commercial Review or an EPA Internal Technical/Relevancy Review?

Yes! Generally speaking, proposals require both an External Commercial Review and an EPA Internal Technical/Relevancy Review to net an award. The EPA utilizes a mix of internal and external reviewers to ensure funding is delivered to the most worthy proposals—this process includes reviews for both technical and commercial potential.

Each proposal is judged by peer reviewers, who measure the value of each submission via three sets of criteria:

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What are the Commercial Criteria for EPA SBIR?

Your proposal for the EPA’s SBIR program is measured against commercial criteria, ensuring that the technical innovation will perform in the marketplace. This criteria includes:

  • Market Opportunity:
    Does the technology address a significant market opportunity?
  • Company/Team:
    Does the proposing company have the essential elements, including expertise and experience, that would lead to successful commercialization
  • Commercialization Approach:
    Does the proposal present a convincing commercialization approach/business model that can successfully take the technology to market?

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What are the Technical Criteria for EPA SBIR?

But, hold on! Before delving into commercialization, the peer reviewers will gauge your proposal on a set of Technical criteria. This section examines the following questions:

  • Innovation:
    Does the proposed technology present an innovation that solves the environmental issue stated in the topic?
  • Technical Approach:
    Does the proposal demonstrate a sound approach to proving the technical feasibility of the concept and how to assess success?
  • Technical Challenges:
    Does the proposal address technical challenges, such as cost, competition, competitive advantage, and a lifecycle approach to solving the problem?

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What are the Relevancy Criteria for EPA SBIR?

And finally, the Relevancy Criteria measures the potential impact of the proposal and how relevant it is to the topic at hand. Within this criteria, the submission is judged upon:

  • Its potential in meeting the EPA’s priorities.
  • Its ability to advance sustainability while presenting environmental, economic, and societal benefits.
  • Its likelihood to be widely used, have broad application, and positively impact large population segments.

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What are the Required Registrations for the EPA SBIR?

The registration process for all SBIR awards can be arduous—which is why it’s essential to start early and take it seriously. It’s a process that can take anywhere from six to eight weeks and must be completed before submitting your application. The required registrations include:

Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS

number, applicants can begin both Systems for Award Management (SAM) and Small Business Association (SBA) Company Registry. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the proposal.

Employee Identification Number (EIN)

Both an Employee Identification Number (EIN) and a DUNS number are essential to moving forward in the SBIR funding process. The EIN base for the organization is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Identification (ID) number; for individuals, it is their social security number, both of which are nine-digit numbers.

SBA Company Registry

All applicants must register at the SBA Company Registry before application submission and attach proof of registration to their application.

System for Award Management (SAM)

Applicants must complete and maintain an active SAM registration, which requires an annual renewal. SAM registration includes assigning a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations that have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.


A web portal, FedConnect is ideal for finding and applying for federal contracts, grants, and other types of assistance funding.

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Who Are Some Past Winners of the EPA SBIR Award?

Though the process of landing an EPA SBIR award can be grueling, there are plenty of success stories to inspire you along the way.

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GVD Corporation

Spun out of MIT’s Chemical Engineering laboratories in 2001, GVD Corporation is a Massachusetts-based technology firm that sets a new standard for coating solutions. 

The Environmental Problem:

During its research, GVD found that many coatings used by industrial and medical manufacturers release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the drying and curing process. This can be destructive to air quality, causing myriad health concerns.

The EPA SBIR Solution: 

GVD created a mold-release coating that uses no organic solvents with funds granted by the EPA SBIR program. This dramatically improves air quality, resulting in reduced toxic emissions. The SBIR award eventually led to a partnership between GVD and a significant automotive parts manufacturer. 

Green Building Studio, Inc.

A flexible cloud-based service, Green Building Studio Inc. runs building performance simulations to optimize energy efficiency and work toward carbon neutrality earlier in the design process.

The Environmental Problem:

Existing buildings are responsible for a hefty chunk of the world’s total primary energy consumption while also being guilty of consuming a sizable amount of the world’s available water supply. In these facts, Green Building saw a need to design buildings that minimize energy use and conserve water.

The EPA SBIR Solution: 

Through EPA SBIR funding, Green Building Studio, Inc. developed a web-based modeling tool to streamline the design of sustainable buildings. The web service helps designers and architects analyze water use in a structure, eligibility of the LEED® daylight credit, renewable energy potential at the building site, and the natural ventilation potential of the building. 

Bridger Photonics

Located in the heart of southwestern Montana’s Rocky Mountains, Bridger Photonics specializes in state-of-the-art technologies that revolutionize methane detection in multiple industries.

The Environmental Problem:

Fossil fuel combustion is the primary source of CO2 pollution, with electricity generation and vehicle exhaust accounting for most of these emissions. Existing technologies require sampling emitted gases with point-source gas-intake measurement devices, which is time-consuming and tedious. This makes it difficult for regulators to identify or quantify CO2 pollution sources.

The EPA SBIR Solution:

An award through the EPA SBIR program enabled Bridger Photonics to develop a mid-infrared laser for use in a remote CO2 sensor with a high-range resolution for onsite CO2 monitoring and spatial mapping from a distance. For example, the CO2 concentration of a smokestack plume can be determined by directing a laser beam at the distant plume. 


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Become Your Own EPA SBIR Success Story

What those successful EPA proposals have in common is the innovative authors all had the time and the team to perform the necessary research and development.

Far too many crucial ideas fall by the wayside simply because of a slight accounting oversight that could have been easily avoided. Team 80 delivers the services you need to ensure no accounting oversight derails your environmentally sound solution.

Free Consultation for EPA SBIR Accounting Services
Team 80 CEO Sarah Sinicki

Sarah Sinicki

Team 80 CEO

Sarah is a leader focused on serving small businesses in various industries. She has worked with a multitude of companies over the last 25 years and loves helping business owners find success. Sarah is genuinely committed to unburdening Team 80 clients so that they have the freedom to focus on their business. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her husband, two kids, and her Yorkies, Marley and Ziggy. When she is not helping business owners, you can find her in a Reb3l Groove class dancing it out. Sarah is also an avid Colorado Avalanche fan, so if you ever want to talk about hockey, she’s your gal.

Black Health Researcher & Asian Health Researcher in a lab

An NIH SBIR Grant Can Fund Your Healthcare Startup

The National Institutes of Health funds game-changing ideas in health and wellness through the SBIR and STTR programs.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), funds small businesses to bring their innovations to the marketplace. The NIH provides funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

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As we’ve all seen, scientific discoveries and emerging technologies have the power to improve health and save lives.

And while a collection of federal agencies are charged with deploying such advancements to the masses, the innovative minds found within the small business sector often perform the research and development legwork necessary to make these medical breakthroughs possible.

Therein lies the inspiration behind the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs offered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency.

A part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the NIH offers up to $1.2 billion in small business funding through its Seed Fund. This mission cultivates diverse ideas and strives to empower scientists and entrepreneurs to bring their discoveries to patients.

Netting that monumental amount of cash for your project is a challenging endeavor, but we’re here to guide you through the process and tell you everything you need to know.

How to Access $1.2 Billion in Small Business Funding from NIH’s Seed Fund

The SBIR and STTR programs are collectively known as America’s Seed Fund. Each of these programs plays a crucial role in NIH’s overall mission to transform innovative ideas into real-world applications, all in service to the health and wellness of the country.

SBIR and STTR set aside $1.2 billion in non-dilutive funding—that is, any capital received by a small business concern or startup that doesn’t require the forfeiture of equity or ownership of their idea.

America’s Seed Fund through the NIH supports early-stage small business research and development. To access these funds, your small business must possess a firm grasp of eligibility, the application process, and the inner workings of all three phases of the SBIR and STTR programs.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a complete understanding of what it takes to achieve funding.

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What Is The NIH SBIR Program?

The NIH utilizes the SBIR program to facilitate the spread of helpful products across the public health spectrum. Along with the STTR program, the NIH SBIR program delivers funds that small businesses need to perform research and development and kick-off commercialization efforts for any innovations related to the field of health. In addition, like with the other federal agencies involved with SBIR and STTR, the NIH promotes small business sustainability through these programs.

Overall, awards allocated by the NIH are intended to:

  • Utilize the skills of small businesses to meet federal research and development needs
  • Stimulate technological innovation through the power of funding
  • Increase commercialization in the private sector
  • Encourage innovation among socially and economically disadvantaged small business and women-owned business concerns

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What is the Difference Between NIH SBIR and STTR?

While both SBIR and STTR are built specifically for small businesses, a few differences place the two programs into separate categories.

The first significant difference has to do with research partners and their role in the award programs. SBIR not only permits but encourages research partnerships as an integral part of the process. However, it is not a requirement of SBIR programs. On the other hand, STTR actively requires small businesses to collaborate with a nonprofit research institution. This distinction makes for a unique application process for each program.

Illustration of Man in front of a white board with ideas

Another difference between the two programs relates to the employment status of the Principal Investigator (PI), who acts as the project lead and heads the communication efforts between the small business and the federal agency.

In the SBIR program, the PI must be primarily employed by your small business at the time of the award and during the entire project period. However, in the STTR program, the PI can claim employment by either your small business or the partner research institution.

For further details into the requirements and differences between the NIH SBIR/STTR programs, check out the NIH Grants Policy Statement, chapter 18.5.

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Am I Eligible for the NIH SBIR Program?

Eligibility requirements for the NIH SBIR program mirror the criteria put forth by all other federal agencies. These eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be a small business in the U.S. with no more than 500 employees, including affiliates.
  • It must be a for-profit business.
  • Must be more than 50 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens.
  • The bulk of the ownership and work must reside with the grant recipient, though you may have business partners and contract out a minor share of the work. 

However, it’s crucially important to remember that each federal agency has a unique set of standards beyond the above requirements. For a complete look at NIH SBIR eligibility, read the Eligibility Criteria for NIH Seed.

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How is the NIH SBIR program funded?

All SBIR grants, including those from the NIH, are federally funded. This means the money comes from the American taxpayer—which serves as even more incentive to create an innovation with the country’s best interests in mind.

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What are the NIH SBIR Phases?

The SBIR and STTR programs are divided into three phases, each with its own set of standards and possible funding.

Phase I

Feasibility and Proof of Concept

Establishes the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the small business’ proposed research and development efforts while determining the quality of performance of the awardee organization before it receives any further federal support in Phase II.

Phase II

Research and Development

Continues the research and development initiated in Phase I. Funding in the second phase is based on the results of Phase I, along with the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project. Therefore, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. 

Phase III/Phase IIB


Where appropriate, Phase III (also known as Phase IIB) enables the pursuit of commercialization resulting from the progress of phases I and II. The NIH SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III. Instead, funding must be gathered from third-party, private investments. 

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What is the NIH Fast-Track Program?

The NIH has built-in a Fast–Track application process into its system for scientifically meritorious projects with an exceedingly high potential for commercialization. Fast-Track expedites the award decision and funding of both SBIR and STTR Phase II applications by allowing the submission and review of Phase I and II grant applications at the same time.

Fast-Track differs slightly from Direct-to-Phase II applications, which allows small businesses to move directly to Phase II only if they performed the equivalent of Phase I research before submission of the application.

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What Agencies are Within the NIH?

The NIH consists of 27 different components, referred to as both institutes and centers. These agencies boast a specific research agenda, often focusing on particular diseases or body systems. These agencies are

How do I Apply for NIH SBIR/STTR?

The NIH SBIR/STTR application process consists of numerous touchpoints along the journey toward funding. Therefore, it’s essential to follow the process step-by-step to increase your chances of winning an award.

The Application Process

  • Find a Funding Opportunity. NIH advertises funding opportunities by posting grant solicitations or funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). In addition, applicants can choose to submit to an omnibus or targeted solicitation—view SBIR and STTR funding opportunities here
  • Prepare Your Application. After you zero in on a topic, access application forms via the NIH online application preparation and submission system
  • Submit and Follow Application Status. You’ll need to keep tabs on your application after submitting it to ensure there were no errors made during the submission process. The NIH service desk can assist with this effort. 

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When are the Applications Due for NIH SBIR/STTR?

Throughout the calendar year, there are three due dates for NIH SBIR/STTR applications. Standard application due dates are September 5, January 5, and April 5. Due dates that fall on weekends or federal holidays move to the next business day.

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What NIH Topics are Available?

Open topics can be found using the SBIR/STTR search engine. Simply refine your search only to include “National Institutes of Health,” and the page displays open topics with all the information you need to get started. 

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What is NIH’s Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) Program?

Powered by the NIH, the Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) program helps small businesses identify the most pressing needs in the research and development of their product.

TABA delivers funding over and above your SBIR/STTR grant to use for assistance with the commercialization of your innovation.

There are three main components of NIH’s TABA program:

  1. TABA Funding: Provides applicants and grantees access to crucial technologies, product sales support, intellectual property protection, market research, and planning.
  2. TABA Needs Assessment: Provides a complimentary assessment report via a third-party vendor working on NIH’s behalf for Phase I and II/IIB grants and contracts.
  3. TABA Consulting Services: Carries out the purposes of TABA Funding with expert assistance in reimbursement planning, regulatory affairs, intellectual property, and market analysis.

Some limitations do exist for TABA Funding. This program does not support research and development activities otherwise supported by the grant funds.

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What are the NIH SBIR Accounting Requirements?

Much like the other federal agencies that award funds through SBIR/STTR, the NIH has some intricate accounting principles that you must follow to receive the funds you need to carry out your project.

The NIH requires small businesses to show an approved budget for each project, along with an accounting report demonstrating how the funds were spent in accordance with your approved budget.

A robust accounting system is necessary to correctly account for approved expenses while excluding any extraneous, unapproved costs. You’ll also need a diligent time-tracking tool to capture and allocate employee costs adequately. Again, this is critical to maximizing grant benefits.

Working with Team 80 helps you set up and maintain a healthy accounting system and procedures, so you can stay focused on the task at hand—perfecting your innovative idea for the NIH.

Free Consultation for NIH SBIR Accounting Services
Team 80 CEO Sarah Sinicki

Sarah Sinicki

Team 80 CEO

Sarah is a leader focused on serving small businesses in various industries. She has worked with a multitude of companies over the last 25 years and loves helping business owners find success. Sarah is genuinely committed to unburdening Team 80 clients so that they have the freedom to focus on their business. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her husband, two kids, and her Yorkies, Marley and Ziggy. When she is not helping business owners, you can find her in a Reb3l Groove class dancing it out. Sarah is also an avid Colorado Avalanche fan, so if you ever want to talk about hockey, she’s your gal.

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Anti-Hustle Resources for Entrepreneurs

An entrepreneurial life can quickly become overwhelming when you try to juggle too many tasks at one time.

While “hustling” has become a way of life for some small business owners, the Anti-Hustle Movement puts a greater emphasis on the inner well-being and health of everyone in the workforce. Rather than overworking to the point of burnout, Anti-Hustle inspires entrepreneurs to achieve success by working smarter, not necessarily harder.

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Everyday we’re hustlin’.

Somewhere along the way, having a good work ethic became synonymous with entrepreneurial hustle—and now people are expected to burn the candle at both ends and neglect their personal life to reach the pinnacle of their chosen industry.

To be honest, that sounds more like a nightmare than the American Dream. 

We believe it’s time to wake up from that old way of thinking about the entrepreneurial lifestyle. But how does one break free from Hustle Culture? What tools and resources are available to entrepreneurs looking to change their everyday narrative? Also, what is Hustle Culture? 

In this blog, Team 80 answers those questions and more. 

What is Hustle Culture?

Hustle culture refers to the relentless pursuit of money and power. It’s a pursuit that includes working relentlessly and continuously, regardless of the toll it takes on one’s health and personal life. And while the phrase “hustle culture” makes it sound aspirational, another way to put it is “burnout culture.”

Some say the idea of “hustling” rose to prominence thanks to a 2006 song by rapper Rick Ross.

However, the smart money says that the Great Recession of 2008 and the fact that life has grown excessively expensive is to blame for the never-ending work cycle for entrepreneurs. Especially for Millennials and Generation Z, there’s a prevailing thought that one must work long hours and start a side business to weather the rough economic times.

Hustle culture describes the incessant need for entrepreneurs to keep up with an ever-accelerating world. In this culture, entrepreneurs work an insane number of hours, up to 60 hours per week. And when they’re not working, entrepreneurs spend their off time thinking about work. It’s unsustainable and not conducive to a healthy life!

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What is the Anti-Hustle Culture Movement?

The world slowed down considerably during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Not only did office workers clock out and go home for an extended period, many decided not to go back in a phenomenon known as the Great Resignation. That event brought with it a wave of Anti-Hustle Culture, a growing disquiet among workers railing against long hours, and an off-kilter work-life balance.

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And within that movement came an opportunity for innovative minds to let their entrepreneurial spirit shine. As a result, anti-Hustle groups were founded, giving other entrepreneurs the resources necessary to reclaim their life without sacrificing all of the benefits inherent in a healthy measure of work hustle. Within the last few years, Anti-Hustle Groups have popped up on Facebook—The Anti-Hustle Club and The Anti-Hustle Academy, for example—with the expressed purpose of giving entrepreneurs the resources they need to avoid the pitfalls of Hustle Culture.

These groups are populated by entrepreneurs doling out advice—nuggets of wisdom, including how to fund an entrepreneurial project, gather human capital, network, and gain the education necessary to arm oneself with knowledge.  Back To Top


Let’s take a look at some of their secrets here:

How to Get Funding for Your Entrepreneurial Idea

Every year, we all gripe about having to hand over our hard-earned money to the government in the form of taxes—but did you know that certain government agencies are holding funds that they have to give to small businesses by law?

That’s right. Federal agencies with research and development (R&D) budgets that exceed $100 million are required to allocate a certain percentage of their funds. These funds, doled out in grants and other financial awards, are initiated through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA works with 11 specific government agencies, facilitating Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Netting funds via this process can be difficult, with plenty of hustle required, but once achieved, it releases you from the constant worry of disappearing cash.

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Government Agencies that Participate in SBIR/STTR

Innovative ideas that are also marketable run the gamut from environmentally-minded to defense-related. As such, the 11 federal agencies that participate in SBIR/STTR are just as varied as the innovative minds of entrepreneurs.

Here are the government departments that could fund your next big idea:

  1. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers grants to qualified small businesses supporting research related to scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture, particularly those that significantly benefit the public. 

  1. Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) engages with businesses, communities, universities, and workers to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improved living standards. 

  1. Department of Defense 

The Department of Defense provides high-tech, small businesses with the opportunity to propose innovative research and development solutions in response to critical defense needs. 

  1. Department of Education

The Department of Education (ED) funds for-profit technology firms to research, develop, and evaluate commercially viable education technology products. 

  1. Department of Energy

The Department of Energy (DOE) selects topics spanning the fields of energy production and use, fundamental energy sciences, energy storage and security, environmental management, and defense nuclear nonproliferation.

  1. Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) seeks paradigm-shifting expertise that can be applied to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. 

  1. Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides qualified small business concerns with opportunities to propose innovative ideas that meet specific homeland security research and development technology needs. 

  1. Department of Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awards contracts to domestic small businesses working on research and development to solve the country’s transportation woes. 

  1. Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) searches for entrepreneurs who utilize innovative technologies in the stewardship of the environment, with the mission of protecting human health and the environment. 

  1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) inspires generations of geniuses to investigate impossibly far-away lands by funding the development of space-age technology. 

  1. National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) develops scientific and engineering innovations into products and services with a societal impact.



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Other Types Of Funding For Entrepreneurs 

Funding can come from a variety of sources outside of the federal government. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Crowdfunding. Online crowdfunding sites are all the rage these days. Used to assist businesses in raising money to launch a specific product, crowdfunding is also an excellent way to pre-sell while gathering capital to develop and build products.
  • Bank Loans. Also known as a line of credit, a bank loan requires proof that you have a history of paying back debt. You’ll also need to deliver a business plan, a financial forecast, and perhaps some collateral.
  • Angel Investors. These are high-net-worth individuals who receive an equity stake in return for financing. They are often profiteers who are business savvy and not afraid to share their knowledge with you. While they ultimately want your business to grow, angel investors are not shy about scrutinizing your business plan.
  • Venture Capital. Similar to angel investors, venture capitalists receive equity in exchange for financing. And like mutual funds, venture capital funds pool money together from an array of investors. This means you’ll likely have to cede some control and equity.

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What is Human Capital and the Gig Economy?

A business is only as good as the people it employs—this is true for small businesses, large enterprises, and everything in between. 

All of us possess intangible talents and traits that are not listed on a company’s balance sheet. These unquantifiable qualities are collectively known as Human Capital and include valuable assets such as intelligence and education, training and skills, health, loyalty, and punctuality. All of these qualities add up to equal Human Capital or the economic value of each worker. 

Human Capital is out there, in the workforce, waiting to be scooped up and utilized by employers. A massive amount of talent exists in the Gig Economy, a labor market full of independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers, and temporary workers. 

Flexibility is inherent in the Gig Economy. Independent contractors choose the jobs they want to take on, often collecting multiple gigs at once. As a result, the Gig Economy makes valuable Human Capital more available to employers while giving workers the power to build an ideal work-life balance—it all comes together to fly in the face of Hustle Culture.

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Gig Economy Resources For Entrepreneurs

Whether you’re an independent contractor looking for work or a recruiter looking to fill a vital role, several companies have become a driving force of the Gig Economy. Here are a few companies ensuring the Gig Economy keeps chugging along. 

  • Fiverr: was started in 2010 offers the opportunity for freelancers in just about any digital creative field to provide their services to a global marketplace.
  • Upwork: One of the largest freelance marketplaces trusted by millions of businesses, including Microsoft, Airbnb, and GoDaddy. Upwork serves both entry-level and experienced freelancers equally.
  • Freelancer: The world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace, connects 60 million employers and freelancers from 247 countries. 
  • TaskRabbit: Connecting people who need help with odd jobs and errands with local people who have the time and skills to do them, TaskRabbit offers flexible, local, one-off, or ongoing jobs to suit anyone’s schedule.  
  • Guru: Boasting hundreds of thousands of clients worldwide, $250 million paid to freelancers, and a high client satisfaction rate, Guru targets professionals rather than entry-level freelancers and offers paid memberships to help users rank higher on the site’s search results.

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Why Networking Is Crucial For Entrepreneurs?

Earlier in this article, we mentioned that “burnout culture” is a more straightforward way of describing the truth behind Hustle Culture. Burnout decimates creativity and stifles a small business’s ability to move beyond the initial stages of entrepreneurship and into the realm of paradigm-shifting success.  

Avoiding burnout will always be one of the top priorities of anyone making their way through the workforce—and networking is one of the best ways to soothe a flare-up of burnout.

A dynamic network of industry peers helps entrepreneurs learn about various topics from a global perspective. Populated by experts in multiple fields, counterparts in your chosen sector, and motivational individuals dispensing sage advice, a good networking connection opens entrepreneurs to a rich bastion of knowledge and opportunity. 

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Remember: you’ve yet to receive the best advice you’ll ever get. That valuable knowledge waits for you when you build a network of like-minded individuals. Here are the best ways for an entrepreneur to build a robust and beneficial network:

  1. Stay In Touch

You’ve already made the trek through schools and various places of employment—these stops along the way to your own business are dotted with people who can become valuable assets. They are your connection to new clients and customers, as well as potential team members. Keep these people in life through simple means: Drop them an email to check-in, engage with them on social media (in a positive way), send them a holiday card, or invite them to a networking meeting you plan on attending. 


  1. Organize or Attend a Meeting

Networking events are everywhere, even online in a virtual world. Plan to attend, volunteer, or organize a network meeting. These events bring all of the important, valuable minds into one place and encourage them to share their knowledge with other attendees. You’ll never know just how beneficial these networking events can be until you attend one! And to organize your own, check out some options on social media platforms, as well as helpful sites such as 


  1. Get Your Name Out There

And finally, make yourself a valuable source of information. This will inspire people to seek you out. If you’re an entrepreneur, you hold a treasure trove of information to help others in your exact situation. Get your name out there by sitting on panels, speaking at public events, doing a podcast interview, or even starting your own podcast. You can also create an entrepreneurial-themed blog, publish articles in various trade publications, or, as mentioned earlier, plan a networking event of your own.

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Grow Your Entrepreneurial Leadership Skills Through Education

Skilling up expands your knowledge and equips you with the tools you need to become a thought leader in your field. Thought leaders offer unique guidance and inspire innovation based on their expertise and perspective built from years of continuing education. 

Often, those providing education for entrepreneurs were once new to their chosen field. They’ve been there, done that. So your best bet is to absorb their knowledge and apply it to your own anti-hustle lifestyle. 

Check out this handy list of 25 podcasts, books, and other resources for entrepreneurs!


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Accounting For Entrepreneurs: Stop Guessing & Know Your Numbers

Fighting the good fight as an entrepreneur is an endeavor that requires all of your attention. Throw in accounting, and you can quickly devolve into a new level of frazzled. Accounting is a daily task vital to your survival as a small business. But, unfortunately, the time it takes to do it right can take you away from other things that need your attention.

Partnering with an accounting firm is one of the most significant steps you can take in the Anti-Hustle Movement. Bookkeeping, monthly accounting, cash-flow forecasting, operational support, and even out-sourced CFO functionality are all enormous responsibilities—and Team 80 is not only highly skilled at these tasks, but it’s also why we’re here. So make the right choice in work-life balance and find out how you fit in with the crew at Team 80.

Team 80 CEO Sarah Sinicki

Sarah Sinicki

Team 80 CEO

Sarah is a leader focused on serving small businesses in various industries. She has worked with a multitude of companies over the last 25 years and loves helping business owners find success. Sarah is genuinely committed to unburdening Team 80 clients so that they have the freedom to focus on their business. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her husband, two kids, and her Yorkies, Marley and Ziggy. When she is not helping business owners, you can find her in a Reb3l Groove class dancing it out. Sarah is also an avid Colorado Avalanche fan, so if you ever want to talk about hockey, she’s your gal.

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Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: SBIR Requirements

The Department of Defense’s DARPA—Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—boasts a specific set of SBIR requirements.

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program seeks advanced technology for use within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). DARPA awards funds to small businesses that research and develop operationally ready technology that reaches beyond current military capabilities.

At times, innovation is all that stands between us and unimaginable threats. 

The challenge is cultivating these innovative ideas and funding them into reality. This is where the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) comes into play. 

A research and development agency of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), DARPA targets emerging technologies for use by the military—developing everything from precision guidance and navigation, to stealth and uncrewed aerial vehicles, to night vision, communications, networking, and so much more.

DARPA utilizes the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) opportunities to inspire innovation among the best and brightest minds to keep pace with the changing face of defense, science, and technology worldwide.

In this blog, we’ll dig into the details of DARPA SBIR, uncovering everything you need to know to find a topic, navigate the phases, and procure the funding you need.

Why is DARPA Important to the Department of Defense?

DARPA catalyzes the development of technologies that maintain and advance the capabilities and technical superiority of the U.S. military. Research funded by DARPA contributes crucial advancements that are applied in real-world situations, from the battlefield to the boardroom. Military and commercial technologies such as precision-guided missiles, stealth, and personal electronics have all been conjured into existence by DARPA DoD.

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As it is in other government agencies, the DARPA SBIR program is the principal, set-aside program for small businesses to participate in federal research and development funding for an array of projects.

DARPA’s SBIR program is unique compared to other government agencies’ SBIR programs. In the name of innovation and defense, there is a culture of risk-taking deeply embedded in the fabric of DARPA. 

Leaders in the agency are willing to cast a wide net searching for science and technology that can be applied for defense purposes. As such, there is a high tolerance for failure. While this might sound like a negative, it actually means that the DARPA SBIR program stands as the model for inspiring innovative minds to flex their creative muscles.

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What are the Phases of DARPA SBIR?

DARPA’s SBIR program consists of three distinct phases.

Phase I kicks off after the Department of Defense announces that the agency is seeking contract proposals to conduct feasibility, experimental, or theoretical research and development projects related to the agency’s mission. These projects, defined by topics in a program announcement, can be narrow or general in scope.

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The object of Phase I is to determine the scientific and technical merit of the proposal while measuring the value and quality of performance of the small business concern. To work in Phase I, the small business is awarded a relatively small agency investment. Proposals are evaluated competitively using the criteria published in the agency’s program announcement.

If your small business achieves its goals in Phase I, you can move on to Phase II. In the second phase of this journey, your small business continues the research and development effort completed in Phase I. All small businesses that win a Phase I award receive a notice describing when to submit their Phase II proposal. The agency bases its decision on the results of the work completed in Phase I, along with the scientific, technical, and commercial potential of the Phase II proposal.

After Phase II is awarded and completed, your small business concern moves on to Phase III, which is typically oriented toward the SBIR-funded research or technology commercialization. Phase III generally refers to work that extends or completes any efforts made under prior SBIR funding agreements but is funded by sources other than the SBIR program, such as private investors.

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Who is Eligible for DARPA SBIR?

To be eligible for the DARPA SBIR program, applicants must follow specific criteria.

Eligible applicants MUST:

  • Be independently owned and operated
  • Organized for-profit
  • Conduct their principal business in the U.S.
  • Be a small business with 500 or fewer employees, including affiliates
  • Meet the benchmark requirements for progress toward commercialization
  • Perform a minimum of two-thirds of the effort in Phase I and half of the effort in Phase II
  • Have the principal investigator spend more than half of the time employed by the proposing firm

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What is the DARPA SBIR/STTR Enhancement Program?

The DARPA SBIR/STTR Enhancement Program is a golden opportunity for any small business that reaches Phase II. Through the Enhancement Program, the DARPA Small Business Programs Office provides small businesses with up to $500,000 of matching funds IF they obtain a commitment of non-SBIR/STTR funding from a DARPA technology office, Department of Defense component, other federal agency, or commercial investor.

Enhancement funding applies to an active Phase II contract, which extends the performance period by up to one year. However, a new Phase II contract may be awarded if appropriate. Applications for the Enhancement Program are reviewed for overall merit, transition potential, commercialization strategy, and the value to the DARPA mission.

Check out this document for more information on the DARPA SBIR/STTR Enhancement Program.

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What are the DARPA SBIR Topics?

Active and archived DARPA SBIR topics can be accessed via the portal found at, which features a complete listing of potential project topics related to the Department of Defense and, more specifically, to DARPA itself. On that page, click on the DARPA tab to view the active DARPA topics and read the application instructions.

There are currently five active DARPA topics:

  1. Innovative Fabrication Techniques for Millimeter-wave Linear Beam Vacuum Electron Devices
  2. Readout Integrated Circuit Development for 2-micron Cutoff Linear Mode Staircase Avalanche Photodiodes
  3. Hardening Aircraft Systems through Hardware (HASH)
  4. Ontology-Based Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Tools
  5. Advanced Intuitive Interfaces

Closing Dates vary from on June 15, 2022 – July 14, 2022
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What are Some of the DARPA SBIR Winners?

Though some of the agency’s ongoing projects are kept secret for national security reasons, a list of successful DARPA SBIR award winners reads like a collection of plot devices from sci-fi, action-adventure films.

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Nextgen Aeronautics, Inc. was awarded funding in 2014 to develop a sonar-based miniature navigation sensor system for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). With a Phase II award of more than $1.4 million, the solution combined advanced sonar technology with software modules capable of learning positioning and velocity in real-time. 

SecondWave Systems, Inc. developed the SecondWave MINI™, a noninvasive device that can reduce chronic and acute inflammation using focused ultrasound energy for its SBIR award. According to the company’s research, military veterans suffer from the onset of inflammatory diseases at twice the rate of the civilian population. 

The SecondWave MINI™ uses a phased array ultrasonic system with advanced steering and focusing and intelligent, adaptive targeting. Worn on a patient’s torso, it delivers targeted ultrasound that modulates the spleen, causing an anti-inflammatory effect to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. 

And finally, Firefly Aerospace launched its SBIR project through DARPA to enable the next generation of space access. The small business developed a simple, efficient, and streamlined pump-fed engine system explicitly designed to provide cost-feasible access to space for small payload vehicles—taking full advantage of the newfound fascination with low-Earth orbit space travel.

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What are the Six Technology Offices That Manage DARPA’s Research Portfolio?

DARPA’s research programs are conducted under the oversight of six technical offices, each charged with developing breakthrough technologies in the name of defense.

The six offices under the DARPA umbrella include:

  1. Defense Sciences Office (DSO). Identifies and pursues high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines. DSO themes include math, computation, sensing and sensors, complex social systems, and anticipating surprise. 
  2. Information Innovation Office (I2O). Technical core work ranges from artificial intelligence and data analysis to secure engineering and formal methods. The office endeavors to address network security, cyber-, and multi-domain operations, human-system interaction, and assured autonomy. 
  3. Microsystems Technology Office (MTO). Develops high-performance intelligent microsystems and next-generation technological components in a vast array of defense concerns, including command, control, communications, computing, surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence. 
  4. Strategic Technology Office (STO). Focuses on technologies that enable fighting as a network to increase military effectiveness, cost leverage, and adaptability. Using a strategy called “Mosaic Warfare,” STO seeks to develop fast, scalable, and adaptive joint multi-domain fighting techniques. 
  5. Tactical Technology Office (TTO). Another high-risk, high-payoff research office, TTO, works to provide or prevent strategic and tactical surprises. The office develops and demonstrates revolutionary new platforms in-ground, maritime, air, and space systems. 
  6. Biological Technologies Office (BTO). Embracing the properties of biology—adaptation, replication, and complexity—BTO revolutionizes how the U.S. defends itself and protects soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. 

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Accounting Requirements of the DARPA SBIR Program

Much like other federal agencies, DARPA SBIR solicitations must be led by an acceptable accounting system and cost data, including procedures for pricing prototyping requirements and time record keeping. Anything less than stellar will not net DARPA SBIR awards. 

Team 80’s accounting experts are well versed in the many crucial details involved in both SBIR and STTR project efforts. So as you work on perfecting your project proposal, we’ll deploy our accounting tools and ensure your team can defend against any scrutiny of your numbers.


Team 80 CEO Sarah Sinicki

Sarah Sinicki

Team 80 CEO

Sarah is a leader focused on serving small businesses in various industries. She has worked with a multitude of companies over the last 25 years and loves helping business owners find success. Sarah is genuinely committed to unburdening Team 80 clients so that they have the freedom to focus on their business. In her free time, you can find her spending time with her husband, two kids, and her Yorkies, Marley and Ziggy. When she is not helping business owners, you can find her in a Reb3l Groove class dancing it out. Sarah is also an avid Colorado Avalanche fan, so if you ever want to talk about hockey, she’s your gal.