Are you an entrepreneur or small business owner with an idea for an innovative technology? You can access federal government dollars to fund research and development of your idea through theSmall Business Innovation Research (SBIR)andSmall Business Technology Transfer (STTR)programs, both administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBIR program is a highly competitive three-phase award system which provides qualified small businesses with opportunities to propose innovative ideas that meet the specific research and development needs of the government. The STTR program is similar, but the small business must partner with a non-profit research institution, such as theUniversityofHouston, to qualify for funding. SBIR and STTR funds are treated as grants and do not have to be repaid.
Eleven federal agencies ranging from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Defense participate in the SBIR program, and five agencies participate in the STTR program. Each agency has different timetables and rules regarding solicitations, proposals and funding. Some accept unsolicited proposals, but for the most part, the agencies have very specific technology innovation needs and will make their awards to those small businesses that can respond with the best solutions to those needs.
In Phase I of the award system, successful proposals will result in the small business being awarded up $100,000 for a period of up to six months to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of their idea. After successfully completing Phase I, the business may then be invited to apply for Phase II funding for up to $750,000 for a period of up to two years for further research and development of the idea. Phase III requires either private sector funding or non-SBIR or STTR federal funding for commercialization of the Phase II results.
For more details about the SBIR and STTR programs, and to link to the participating agencies, visit the U.S. Small Business Administrationís web site atwww.sba.gov/sbir, the SBIR Gateway atwww.zyn.com, or the National Science Foundation-sponsored site atwww.sbirworld.com. For a free, comprehensiveSBIR/STTR Programs Information Handbook, visit the NorthCarolinaSmallBusiness & TechnologyDevelopmentCenterwebsite atwww.sbtdc.org/pdf/sbir_handbook.pdf.
The UH SBDC is a business consulting and training center of the University of Houston SBDC Network. The UH SBDC Network serves 32 counties in Southeast Texas. The UH SBDC Network is a program of the UH CT Bauer College of Business and a resource partner of the US Small Business Administration. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.SBDC programs are nondiscriminatory and available to individuals with disabilities. The University of Houston is an EEO/AA institution. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact UH SBDC at 713/752-8488 for accommodations.