Small Business Innovation Research Grants

SBIR Grants were established to encourage innovation in technology in the private sector.  They are given specifically to enable small businesses to use research and development either to develop a new technology or to apply existing technology in new ways to reach the ultimate goal of commercial products and technology.  As the name indicates, everything is about INNOVATION!

SBIR Program Phases:

Phase I:  Evaluation of the technology – merit and feasibility up to $100,000 and 6 months
Phase II:  Main research and development/proof of concept up to $750,000 and 24 months

There are two types of SBIR programs:  contracts and grants. .  Contract programs request proposals and award funds based upon a specific identified need or problem.  You are responding to specific criteria and parameters and competing with other companies for program dollars.  These programs may utilize your existing products, technology, or services customized for the agency’s needs.

Grant programs are intended to support “good ideas”. Each agency circulates or posts requests for proposal in categories of activities or issues.  For instance, the National Institutes of Health may seek an educational program, a software tool, or some other “product” to address collection of health data.  Each agency has its own purpose, methods, and requirements.

General Key Eligibility Requirements:

Fewer than 500 employees
51% ownership and control by US citizens or permanent resident aliens
Any type of legal structure and “for profit”
Do not have to be an already established company at time of submission of proposal

A key point is that many agencies have “set asides” giving preference to women owned and/or minority businesses. Learn more about the programs and requirements – for proposals and for running your business post award. Both grants and contracts require robust business and accounting systems that meet specific governmental accounting rules.  Before you decide to seek government funding, take the time to understand the application process and the requirements placed on your business WHEN you get the money.

Copyright © 2004 F.O.C.U.S. Resource, Inc.

Lea Strickland, president and CEO of F.O.C.U.S. Resources, is a recognized business leader and area expert in strategic business consulting.  She is also an author, expert panelist, speaker, and columnist on business topics, including financial performance, business funding alternatives, infrastructure and operational processes and controls, and government funding compliance.  She is a contributor to Small Business Technology Magazine and her columns appear in Carolina NewsWire, NC Journal for Women, and many other publications and business websites throughout the US.

F.O.C.U.S. Resources located in Cary, North Carolina works with technology, bio-technology, bio-pharmaceutical, manufacturing, software, and service companies in emerging and growth industries and markets.   Government funded businesses – grant and contract recipients – account for approximately half of the United States clientele.

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