SBIR Grants

Believe it or not, there’s loads of unclaimed cash for innovative ideas.

Your dreams won’t fund themselves, and let’s face it; the average small business doesn’t have unlimited resources and disposable income. If you’re reading our blogs, there’s a good chance that you’re one of those small business owners.

Without appropriate funding, you might feel like your big idea will never see the light of day. Don’t give up! Your vision can still become a reality with the government’s help. You can leverage SBIR’s power to fund your dreams, like 179,000 other small businesses.

An SBIR grant might be the ticket if your idea has elements of research and technical innovation.

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

What is the SBIR program?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a United States government program that awards funds to small businesses conducting early-stage research and development.

There are three phases in the program. We’ll focus on two of them (the SBIR program does not fund Phase III). In the simplest terms, Phase I covers research costs; Phase II covers idea development.

Eleven government agencies participate in the SBIR program, and each year they invite people like you to conduct research. Why? Because the government is always in need of things. DOD needs innovative military tech, and the EPA constantly looks for environmental protection ideas.

If your brilliant idea can realistically further a federal agency’s mission, then the SBIR program could be a potential gold mine for you and your business.

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Who qualifies for an SBIR grant?

Domestic, for-profit businesses with under 500 employees can qualify for the SBIR program. The owners must be predominantly US citizens. These are the basic qualifications. But you should consider another detail: you won’t qualify if your idea doesn’t meet one of the participating government agencies’ needs.

You should research available topics and ensure you can develop a unique, unproven solution to a specific agency’s needs. Click here to determine your eligibility.

How long does it take to get an SBIR grant?

If you plan to save a tanking business with an SBIR grant, think again. The government doesn’t disperse funds quickly. It can take up to one year after proposal submission to receive the award and Phase I funding.

How competitive are SBIR grants?

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You won’t find the process of winning an SBIR grant easy. Typically, only ⅓ of first-time applicants receive an award.

In 2019, NIH awarded 1,329 grants out of a total of 6,084 applicants. That isn’t a high success rate, but these statistics shouldn’t discourage you!

If you’re asking about your chances of winning SBIR funding, you’re asking the wrong questions. That’s why we always say you shouldn’t make business plans around SBIR funding. Put faith in your idea and perfect your proposal – your proposal will set you apart from other applicants, make it stand out.

The SBIR program is a game-changer for folks typically disadvantaged either socially or economically – women and minorities are prime candidates and often win.

How does SBIR funding work?

Taxpayer dollars fund the SBIR program. Each year, the government sets aside roughly 2.2 billion dollars to finance cutting-edge technologies developed by small businesses (like yours).

The eleven agencies included in the SBIR program have annual research and development budgets. When those budgets exceed $100 million, the agency puts 3.2% of it towards the SBIR program.

A whopping 50% of SBIR funds come from the Department of Defense alone.

These grants are non-dilutive, meaning you’re getting money without having to give up control of your company. And you never have to pay it back.

As of 2020, agencies have doled nearly $259,613 to Phase I recipients and up to $1,730,751 for Phase II recipients. These awards are life-changing for many people and small businesses.

What is an STTR grant?

Group of Happy SBIR Grant Winners holding Light Bulbs above their heads

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is similar to the SBIR program. The only real difference is that STTR requires you to partner with a US non-profit research institution.

Out of the eleven agencies that participate in the SBIR program, only five take part in STTR. These are DODDOEHHSNASA, and NSF.

STTR awards are smaller than SBIR funds – the SBIR program has a larger pot of funds and receives more applicants.

SBIR is for me! How do I get started?

Are you ready to make the SBIR program leap? Do you qualify and feel confident that the world can benefit from your innovative product or service? That’s excellent!

But be prepared. The SBIR process is arduous, complicated, and time-consuming. The application process alone can consume as much as 200 hours! Wouldn’t you instead prefer to spend that time refining your idea? Of course, you would.

Many rules govern SBIR grants and countless compliance requirements. We’re here to help! We’re on a mission to end small business failures.

We’ve successfully assisted dreamers like you throughout the SBIR process. Whether it’s creating dynamic proposals that secure awards or managing the grant accounting, audits, and tax preparations, we are your SBIR experts!

Let us help you find SBIR success, so you can focus on making your dreams a reality!

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