Entrepreneurs working toward an SBIR award can access a wealth of resources in every state. 

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are presented by the federal government through a collection of 11 agencies and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBIR/STTR programs award capital to small businesses to fund the research and development of a product or service and marketing efforts. 

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Small businesses often need a boost from like-minded organizations—an infusion of wisdom from professionals who have been there, done that, and prospered. 

This is especially true for entrepreneurs diving into the competitive world of government grants and contracts. 

Programs like Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), two federal efforts that fund ground-breaking ideas across an array of projects, become attainable when you’ve got the support of vital resources.

With so many innovative minds spread throughout the country, these resources are available in every state. 

It coalesces into a comprehensive small business assistance network, from individualized business advisement and technical assistance to in-person counseling and training services. 

But what agencies offer SBIR/STTR support, and how can you, a small entrepreneurial business, receive the help you need to advance your innovation? 

Let’s take care of business and find out.

Resources Available to SBIR/STTR Applicants

In your quest for SBIR/STTR funding, you’re likely to encounter more than a few obstacles.

These barriers to project completion could be a shortage of capital, knowledge gaps in the application process, general business understanding, or a slew of other shortcomings.

It’s important to remember that you are not alone—not only do most small business people face similar challenges but there are pros out there who want to help you!

In this article, we’ll cover state-by-state resources while focusing on these specific programs:



What is the SBDC?

SBDC stands for Small Business Development Centers, a collection of programs spread throughout the country that provide training and counseling to small businesses and informational tools to support business start-ups and existing business expansion. 

Depending on where your business is located, you could have numerous SBDC programs at your disposal. To find the local SBDC serving your region, simply enter your zip code into the search bar on this page presented by the Small Business Administration. 

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Is SBDC the Same as SBA?

While not precisely the same, the SBDC is a partner program of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

This partnership fosters small businesses and jobs by providing educational resources to business owners and those looking to start a business. 

Meanwhile, the centers are typically hosted by colleges, universities, private sector organizations, and state economic development agencies.

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How Can SBDC Help My Small Business?

As previously mentioned, SBIR and STTR programs are incredibly competitive, and new entrepreneurs might feel overwhelmed by the guidelines and protocols that must be followed to obtain funding. That’s where the SBDC comes in. 

SBDC programs serve as an invaluable resource for business owners, passing along wisdom in the form of professional, high-quality, individualized business advisement and technical assistance. 

This assistance is made available to existing small businesses and pre-venture entrepreneurs. Simply put, SBDCs help you solve problems.

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And as you know, small business life is rife with problems, and SBDC can advise you in areas including:

  • Access to Capital
  • Development and Exchange of New Technologies
  • Business Planning Improvement
  • Strategy Development
  • Operations Streamlining
  • Financial Management
  • Personnel Administration
  • Marketing Expertise
  • Export Assistance
  • Sales Deployment
  • Management Improvement
  • Increased Productivity
  • Growth & Expansion
  • Overall Innovation

Professionally inspired advancement in all areas can significantly increase your chances of SBIR program success!

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What are Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)?

Government contracts can be some of the most lucrative business deals that any entrepreneur can hope to obtain. Federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense, offer tremendous financial opportunities, buying all types of products and services—in both large and small quantities—directly from small businesses that develop innovations through the SBIR.

Part of a Federal Contracting Assistance effort managed by the SBA, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) lend a hand to small businesses by providing technical assistance in selling products or services to federal, state, and local governments.

Along with that overall mission, PTACs can help you:

  • Determine if your business is ready for federal contracting
  • Prepare you to register in the proper places
  • Measure your eligibility for small business certifications
  • Assist in the research of previous contracting opportunities
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Guided by Procurement Center Representatives (PCRs), small businesses can win federal contracts by learning procurement strategies before the agreements are even announced to the public.

PCRs can also conduct market research, assist with payment issues, and serve as your guiding light through the entire contracting process.

You can find your state’s local PTAC by entering your zip code in the search bar on this page.

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What is Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)?

Business development resources also extend to other specific small business sectors, including U.S. manufacturers.

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program consists of a nationwide network of centers that provide manufacturers with the tools necessary to enhance growth, reduce costs, improve productivity, and expand capacity.

MEPs are everywhere, with more than 440 locations spread throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Each center delivers customized services and resources calibrated to match the needs of individual small- and mid-sized manufacturers.

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MEP programs help businesses focus on:

  • Lean and Continuous Improvement 
  • Growth and Innovation
  • Supply Chain Issues
  • Keeping Operations in America
  • Sustainability
  • Technology Acceleration
  • Workforce Challenges

Check out the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) MEP resource page for contact information and economic impacts from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. 

Manufacturers can also utilize the NIST interactive map to find a local MEP center or view the MEP Center quick list for phone numbers, email addresses, websites, and more.

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What is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Proof-of-Concept Center (POCC)?

A Proof-of-Concept Center is part of a more extensive Proof-of-Concept Network (POCN) powered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

The network engages academic innovators to support the conversion of scientific discoveries into actual medical products, while training the biomedical workforce to be globally competitive in technology development and entrepreneurship. 

Spanning more than 100 universities in 34 states and Puerto Rico, the POCN is manifested through three programs: NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovations (NCAI), Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs (REACH), and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ STTR Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hubs for IDeA States

As of December 2021, the POCN has worked with 386 projects by more than 100 startups, resulting in close to 50 SBIR/STTR awards and $1.58 billion in funding. 

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These additional state-by-state resources include:

  • Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program
  • SBA Growth Accelerator
  • SBA Regional Innovation Cluster
  • Build-to-Scale (B2S)
  • MBDA Business Center
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These additional state-by-state resources include:

  • Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program
  • SBA Growth Accelerator
  • SBA Regional Innovation Cluster
  • Build-to-Scale (B2S)
  • MBDA Business Center
Illustration of Man sitting a work desk in front of a window next to a plant

To find local SBIR/STTR assistance in your state, access the search functions presented by the SBA on this page or find your state below.

SBIR STATE RESOURCES


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Sarah Sinicki

Partner & Director of Business Development at Team 80 LLC

Sarah is a Colorado native and loves everything about our beautiful state. In her free time you can find her spending time with her husband, two kids and her Yorkie named Marley. She also enjoys paddle-boarding, riding her cruiser bike, and just hanging out with friends and family. Sarah is also an avid Colorado Avalanche fan, so if you ever want to talk about hockey, she’s your gal. As one of the Partners of Team 80, she certainly does have a passion for helping small businesses. She is able to apply her 20 years of experience to tailor an accounting solution for a business owner no matter what industry they might be in.

Been with Team 80: May 2008

Education
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Degree Name: BS
Field Of Study Accounting
Graduated: 1998

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