Small Business Grants – SBIR and STTR Programs


Small Business Grants SBIR STTRNon-dilutive Grant Funds

The United States government has two significant small business grant programs for Small Business Innovators: SBIR and STTR. So, these small business grants enable companies to fund high-risk research. Both the SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) programs enable small businesses to obtain non-dilutive funds. Those funds are used for research of new, innovative technologies and products. These funds are America’s Seed funds and utilize taxpayer dollars to support the research projects. These funds come with terms and conditions of how the funds are used, tracked, and reported. Small businesses can build their intellectual property within the “terms and conditions” of the program.

Each program has special requirements for how the work is performed. How much has to be done by the small business and what can be subcontracted out. For instance, the STTR program expects small businesses to take the lead and work with a university or other qualified entity.


F.O.C.U.S. Resources works with our clients to develop the budgets, rates, and compliance systems related to the program requirements. We work with clients during the proposal process to optimize the funding and financial information, as well as identify and clarify the content of the proposals. We have served as proposal reviewers for the government.

The key to getting the most out of the SBIR and STTR programs is to understand:

  • How the programs work;
  • What the requirements are;
  • The funding request – allowable costs;
  • What the business will be required to do – terms and conditions;
  • How the programs fit in the overall long-term funding strategy of the firm;
  • What if any impact on intellectual property rights; and
  • Why “terms and conditions” impact how the business operates.

I’ve written a book, SBIR Basics: The Numbers, on the basics of the financial or numbers aspect of the programs. It explains key concepts and terminology about cost types, rates, and audits.  It also includes a list of policies that are the starting point for compliance.

Small Business R&D Programs

The SBIR and STTR programs also use the FAR 31.2 requirements. Each agency has their guidance on the interpretation, application, and performance under those standards.

Day One Compliance

When you receive a government grant, you are required to have in place the business systems, controls, and other requirements of the programs and award document. Those requirements are to be in place on Day 1!  Many organizations are not compliant on day 1 and put their organizations at risk. The risks include:

  • Loss of award,
  • Repayment of funds including interest, penalties, etc.,
  • Civil and criminal penalties,
  • Suspension, and
  • Debarment (banned from contracting).


To prepare to compete for these funds (and there is a lot of stiff competition), you need to understand:

  • who meets the eligibility requirements;
  • how to identify opportunities;
  • what the timeline and submission process is:
  • how to setup your business to pursue funding;
  • how to develop a robust proposal; and
  • what is involved in preparing the proposal budget.

We work with clients to develop these key elements:

  1. funding strategy,
  2. budget development,
  3. cost proposals and systems,
  4. commercialization strategy and plan,
  5. market opportunity,
  6. customer selection,
  7. intellectual property tracking,
  8. recordkeeping,
  9. timekeeping,
  10. the accounting system,
  11. procurement systems,
  12. internal controls – policies and procedures,
  13. asset management,
  14. invoicing; and
  15. other requirements.

Call us for more information on these services. 919.234.3960.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Articles and Podcasts”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

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