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America's Seed Fund Update for February 2021

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February 11, 2021
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February 2021 - America's Seed Fund Update Newsletter

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National Entrepreneurship Week Events with the Federal Innovation Ecosystem February 13 - 20

Connect to even more celebrations of America's entrepreneurs at


Meet Eric Adolphe, first Black SBIR Tibbetts Award winner

Eric Adolphe, CEO of ForwardEdge, was the first Black SBIR Tibbetts Award winner in 2007 when he served as CEO of OPTIMUS Corporation whose mission was to develop technologies to prevent the loss of human life. The SBA recognizes companies, organizations and individuals who exemplify the spirit and intent of the SBIR/STTR programs with the Tibbetts Awards. Adolphe, a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of success, is also a National Inventor’s Hall of Fame honoree, a member of the Meharry Medical College Data Science Institute organizing committee, and PI for a current NSF SBIR award to leverage AI to combat misinformation, disinformation, and scams targeting senior citizens and disabled veterans. Read more about Adolphe here, and see the 2020 Tibbetts winners here.


SBA shares resources for Black-owned businesses during National Black History Month

Victor Parker, Deputy Associate Administrator for the SBA Office of Field Operations, identifies key SBA resources for COVID-19 assistance, contracting opportunities, local support, and access to capital, including SBIR/STTR. Read full article.


Isabel Guzman affirms importance of SBIR during confirmation hearing

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee held a confirmation hearing for Isabel Guzman on Feb. 3 to serve as Administrator of the SBA. In her comments to the committee, Guzman called the SBIR program one of the most critical programs the SBA has, and stressed her commitment to the program. Listen to the full committee hearing here.

SBIR News & Updates

Recently Opened SBIR Funding Opportunities


Tutorial provides help in finding state assistance

Many state innovation support networks are in place across the country to help entrepreneurs navigate the SBIR/STTR proposal process. This tutorial introduces you to those services and outlines the range of SBIR/STTR services and related resources, helping you determine how best to proceed in tapping these talents to achieve success. Find the tutorial here and explore additional tutorials on navigating the SBIR program here.


GAO issues report on venture-backed business participation in SBIR

A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that of the 11 participating agencies in the SBIR program, three made awards in fiscal years 2019 and 2020 to small-businesses that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital operating companies, making a combined 45 awards totaling $31.6 million. These agencies include the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of the Navy within the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Education. Since 2013, small businesses owned by venture capital companies, hedge funds, or private equity firms may participate in some cases and the agencies noted that they believed the investments would produce innovation and prompt research in areas that have not drawn private investment. Read the full report.  


National Women’s Business Council Highlights Women in STEM Policy Priority

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) released its 2020 #LetsTalkBusiness Roundtable Series Report on Feb 4, including highlights from the Women in STEM roundtable on patenting and barriers to enter and launch new STEM ventures. The roundtable series discussions supported Council recommendations in three priority areas: access to capital, rural women’s entrepreneurship, and women in STEM. Read the NWBC Annual Report for FY2020 here.   

Events & Education

The MBDA InVision Tour is a series of virtual events and conversations designed to empower minority innovators and entrepreneurs to transform ideas into business success through access to federal research and development resources, funding, and technology transfer programs. Next event is March 24, with a theme of Human Space Exploration. Learn more and register.

TechConnect WV SBIR/STTR Bootcamp. March 4 | 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET. Read more and register.

Explore the National Science Foundation’s SBIR/STTR program. March 18 | 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. Read more and register.

Look for upcoming events at Submit an event at

R&D Spotlight

Comment period extended for National Council for Expanding American Innovation

The window for public input concerning the National Council for Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI) has been extended by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The goal of the NCEAI is to create a national strategy to promote and increase participation by underrepresented groups in inventing and innovation. Comments must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at on or before Feb. 23, 2021.


The Interagency Edison (iEdison) reporting system for extramural inventions is being rebuilt for a 2022 launch. NIST is currently looking for volunteers for user test groups to provide critical feedback and shape the system. The small business voice is desired! Read more.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requests comments on proposed revisions to the Bayh-Dole regulations for Federally-funded intellectual property, including regulations that impact SBIR/STTR awards. Comments are due by April 5, 2021. Read the Federal Register notice.


NIST Issues Security Standard for Controlled Unclassified Information

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s Special Publication 800-172 Enhanced Security Requirements for Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI): A Supplement to NIST SP 800-171, offers a set of tools and recommended practices for non-federal organizations to better protect CUI from advanced persistent threats, such as state-sponsored hackers. Read more.


Members named to entrepreneurship and innovation committees in the 117th Congress

Nearly a month into the 117th Congress, formal committee assignments are being announced. The highest-priority committees for tech-based economic development policies are those affecting science and small business issues. The lists, available from SSTI here, provide a description of those committees in the Senate and House for the next two years and will updated accordingly.

Highlights for Ecosystem Builders

Lab-to-Market Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem winners announced

SBA partnered with the National Science and Technology Council’s Lab-to-Market subcommittee to award $330,000 in prizes to the winners of the Lab-to-Market (L2M) Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition. The L2M prize competition recognizes impactful organizations, programs and ideas that support R&D innovation ecosystems, particularly those focused on underrepresented communities and pandemic responses. The list of winners is available here. An Awards Ceremony for the winners will take place on Feb. 18 during National Entrepreneurs Week. Register for the virtual celebration here.


Congratulations to the 2020 Organizational Tibbetts Awardees! Learn how these seven ecosystem builders exemplify the spirit and intent of the SBIR/STTR programs and have created impact in their communities.


SSTI examines state R&D investment as a share of state GDP, 2009-2018

Industry investment in research and development (R&D) indicates, literally, how invested each state’s businesses are in creating new products and processes. To better-understand industry’s commitment to innovation, business R&D can be viewed as a percentage of each state’s private sector gross domestic product (GDP), providing a measure of research intensity. This measure highlights substantial differences in the orientation of states’ businesses toward research, with some states seeing an investment rate of less than 1 percent while others are above 5 percent. The metric further reveals a broad trend that businesses in many states have stagnated their investments in R&D relative to the overall performance of the economy. Read more in SSTI’s analysis here.


University Economic Development Association (UEDA) hosts Ecosystem-Building with America's Seed Fund: The SBIR/STTR Programs

On February 23, 3 pm ET, join UEDA with Jennifer Shieh and Brittany Sickler of the US Small Business Administration. Hear how SBA and science funding agencies across the Federal government work with higher education institutions and economic development organizations to grow an equitable and inclusive innovation ecosystem. Learn more and register.


AUTM 2021: How to Use SBIR/STTR Funding to Commercialize University Research and the Federal Programs That Help Track: Start-Ups and Gap Funding.

Connect with us at AUTM 2021, on March 17 at 2 p.m. where SBA’s Jennifer Shieh will be joined by Del Mackey of New Mexico State University and Heather Metcalf of Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) to discuss how their organizations and initiatives help start-ups access SBIR/STTR funding to transition university-based research. Learn more.


Save the Dates for upcoming sessions with the SBA Office of Innovation and Technology


Check out more resources for SBIR Support Organizations at

Local Assistance - Meet FAST

The Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program funded 24 organizations this year, building the SBIR/STTR ecosystem through outreach, technical assistance, and financial support. Meet two of the FAST awardees:

The Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) supports technology companies throughout the state, and offers SBIR matching grants, incubator space and technical assistance. Learn more.

EnterpriseWorks at the University of Illinois is an incubator and service provider for new technology companies based at the Champaign-Urbana campus’ research park. Learn more.

Find local assistance near you at:

SBIR Success - Woman-owned business designs games that empower youth

REESSI, Virginia -- Laverne Morrow Carter built a successful business called Research, Evaluation and Social Solutions, Inc. (REESSI) with the help of funding from a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. REESSI supports children, youth, and young adults from under-resourced families and communities by implementing risk interventions. In 2016, REESSI used Phase II SBIR funding to build out prototypes of virtual games for after-school programs. Read more about her company, funding and success here.

Get inspired by more SBIR Company Stories at

SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities

Find more funding opportunities and specific topic areas at These are listed alphabetically by agency.

Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

SBIR Phase II. Due 5/3/2021.


Dept. of Commerce (DOC)

National Institute of Standards and Technology FY2021 Phase I. Due 4/14/2021.

National Institute of Standards and Technology FY2021 Phase II (for FY2020 Phase I Awardees). NOFO expected to open 2/15/2021, due 5/21/2021.


Dept. of Defense (DoD)

DoD SBIR 2021.1 Due 2/18/2021.

DoD STTR 2021.A Due 2/18/2021.

Air Force X21.1 CSO Due 2/18/2021.

Air Force X21.A STTR CSO Due 2/18/2021.

Army SBIR 21.4. Topics currently in pre-release. Opens 2/25/2021. Due 3/24/2021.


Dept. of Energy (DOE)

FY2021 Phase II Release 2. Opens 3/1/2021. Letters of Intent due 3/31/2021.


Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)

NIH, CDC, FDA SBIR/STTR Omnibus Solicitations next due 4/5/2021.

SBIR Technology Transfer (Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Due 4/5/2021.

Commercialization Readiness Pilot (CRP). Due 4/5/2021.

BRAIN Initiative: Development Optimization, and Validation of Novel Tools and Technologies for Neuroscience Research. Final due date 4/5/2021.

Additional targeted funding opportunities on specific topics with various upcoming due dates can be found here.


Dept. of Transportation (DOT)

FY2021 SBIR Phase I. Due 3/8/2021.


National Science Foundation (NSF)

New Phase I SBIR and STTR topics are expected in the coming weeks. Project Pitches are always accepted.


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