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America's Seed Fund Update for March 2021

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March 14, 2021
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March 2021 - America's Seed Fund Update Newsletter

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March 2021

Don't Miss...

Celebrating Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship this Women’s History Month

This year’s Proclamation on Women’s History Month from the White House acknowledges women’s leadership in the current crisis, from vaccine researchers to front line workers, and reflects on unequal burdens women continue to shoulder.

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) recently released their #LetsTalkBusiness Roundtable Series Report, including a summary on their Women in STEM roundtable. This past August, NWBC released America’s Seed Fund: Women’s Inclusion in Small Business Innovation Research & Small Business Technology Transfer Programs, examining the participation of women in the SBIR/STTR programs. This study provided the first comprehensive analysis of women’s participation in the SBIR/STTR programs as business owners or principal investigators. Find the full report here.

Learn more about Women’s History Month here.


Registration for 2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference Opens Soon

Small business entrepreneurs developing a product or service that has the potential to improve human health should attend this year’s virtual 2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference taking place April 26-30. This free conference, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will explore the theme Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations.

Click here to be notified as soon as registration opens.


Beware of Scams

Some people have recently received malicious messages from sources posing as SBA employees and using information from in their phishing attempts. If you think you have been targeted by one of these messages, view SBA’s advice regarding scams here.

SBIR News & Updates

Recently Opened SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities

  • Department of Defense see currently open topics
  • The National Cancer Institute has introduced two new funding opportunities for early career researchers and out-of-the-box thinkers:
    • The Small Business Transition Grant aims to support early career academic scientists interested in transitioning to entrepreneurship through a Fast-Track award with mentoring – deadline extended to March 24.
    • The Small Business Concept Award supports disruptive therapies, diagnostic tools, or preventive strategies focused on pediatric and rare cancers via a contract award with expected participation in the NIH I-Corps entrepreneurial training program. Small business offerors must indicate their intent to propose by submitting a White Paper by March 26, with a full proposal deadline in July.


FY2018 SBIR/STTR Annual Report is now available on the SBIR/STTR Annual Reports page on

American College of Cardiology and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute partner to host 2021 Innovation Showcase with six SBIR awardee pitches and a panel discussion on commercializing cardiovascular research on April 1. Learn more. 

World Water Day is celebrated on March 22, and you can learn more about actions people are taking to tackle the water crisis here.

EPA’s SBIR Water Reuse Focus

In 2020, EPA launched the National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP), a coordinated and collaborative effort across the water user community to advance consideration of water reuse to ensure the security, sustainability, and resilience of U.S. water resources. EPA SBIR supported the WRAP with action 2.7.5 to coordinate and promote water reuse technologies in the federal SBIR program. With this action, the EPA SBIR program developed a solicitation topic seeking innovative reuse technologies as part of the 2021 Phase I solicitation. Eight small businesses will soon be awarded EPA SBIR funding of up to $100,000 to develop novel water reuse monitoring and treatment technologies that support the WRAP. Read more about these projects here.

SBIR Success in Water Tech

Initially supported by an SBIR Phase I award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2014, KC Industries (KCI) has successfully navigated the multi-phased program and expects their technology to be fully certified, approved, and ready for widespread use this month. KCI developed a tablet-based fluoridation technology that will allow an estimated 32,000 small water systems that are currently unable to provide optimally fluoridated water to reach underserved rural communities. Read more about KCI's story here.


Events & Education

BioHealth Innovation SBIR Workshop on March 17-19 features overviews and 1:1 partnering meetings with program officers from NIH, NSF, UMD Maryland Industrial Partnerships, and US Army Medical Research and Development Command. Learn more and register. 

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 on Emerging Opportunities in Space Technology. Learn more and register.

Startups & Government: Compatible at Last. March 15 | 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET. Read more and register.

DC PTAC - SBIR/STTR Programs: Advancing Technological Innovations & Stimulating Entrepreneurship. March 16 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET. Read more and register.

Women’s SBIR Coffee Corner. March 17 | 11:00 a.m. ET. Read more and register.

USPTO 2021 Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium: Resources for protecting your intellectual property. March 17 | 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 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.

2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference: Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations. April 26-30. Read more and be notified when registration opens.

Learn how to apply for small business funding and discover helpful resources to navigate your journey to commercialization. You’ll also have the chance to schedule a 15-minute chat with small business program staff to get your specific questions answered about the application process and receive personalized guidance on how the small business program can help you meet your product development goals.

Look for upcoming events at

R&D Spotlight

Useful Stats: SBIR awards per 1,000 innovation research establishments by state, 2019

States often estimate their participation in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program by counting the number of awards made, total of award value, or (when available) the success rate of applications in their state. SSTI attempts to go beyond these measures to estimate states’ untapped potential for capturing future SBIR awards. This creates a baseline proxy for tailoring and assessing a state’s outreach and support activities. Click here to read more about this new metric.


Senate restructures science, commerce subcommittees

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation announced a new structure for its subcommittees in the 117th Congress, bringing the total number from six to seven. Find the breakout of the committees and their chair and ranking members here.


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.

Highlights for Ecosystem Builders

Congress passes $1.9 trillion recovery bill, boosting help for innovation

The American Rescue Plan Act is a $1.9 trillion spending package to address the ongoing health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The legislation includes several initiatives that could strengthen regional innovation economies. Most notable among these is the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), $3 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and $350 billion for state and local government relief. Learn more.


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.


Association of University Research Parks (AURP) Innovation University: How the SBA Can Help Companies In Your Park. Join AURP and SBA’s Brittany Sickler and Jennifer Shieh to talk about innovation ecosystem building with SBIR on March 24, 1 pm ET. Read more and register.


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:

Witchita State University (Kansas) supports companies interested in SBIR/STTR by providing technical assistance, beginning with a one-on-one consultation. Learn more.

Maryland TEDCO provides investments, technical assistance and entrepreneurial development services, including the SBIR/STTR Proposal Lab. Learn more.

Find local assistance near you at:

SBIR Success - Women-owned Companies Among Tibbetts Winners, Representing the Best in SBIR

For Colorado Engineering Inc. (CEI), a woman-owned small business headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program funding enabled the company to develop technology breakthroughs in a variety of military and commercial radar applications. Since the early 2000s, CEI has leveraged SBIR funding to develop and commercialize their innovations, resulting in more than $20 million in contract awards as it transitioned more than 37 products to production for use in DoD and government systems. Read more about CEI, a 2020 Tibbetts Award Winner, here.

Design Interactive, Inc., another 2020 Tibbetts Award Winner, is a woman-owned small business that developed a patented algorithm compatible with wrist-worn devices to provide real-time stress measurements to improve PTSD, stress, and anxiety therapy. Although SBIR funding initially was critical to its creation of an Operational Stress Index patented algorithm when the company began, additional funding, including Phase III investment, enabled DI to apply the core technology to other domains – including Special Operations, deception detection, Federal law enforcement training, and firefighter training. DI has received multiple Phase III contracts in support of the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officer School, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). Over $3 million in Phase III funding has been invested in the core technology the company developed over the past 5 years. DI has also received SBIR awards from the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation (DOT), as well as NASA. Read more about their success here.

Get inspired by more SBIR company stories at and learn about all the 2020 Tibbetts Award winners 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.


Dept. of Defense (DoD) All open topics

Army SBIR 2021.4 

DARPA BAA HR001121S0007. Topics currently in pre-release. Opens 3/17/2021. Closes 4/20/2021.

  • Prototype Optical Frequency Standard
  • Semantic Model, Annotation and Reasoning Technologies (SMART)
  • Smart Model Repository (SMR)
  • Extreme Photon Imaging Capability-Long Wave Infrared (EPIC-LWIR)
  • Portable Personal Air Mobility System.

Space Development Agency (SDA) SBIR/STTR BAA HQ085021S0001


Dept. of Energy (DOE)

FY2021 Phase II Release 2. Letters of Intent due 3/31/2021. Applications due 4/20/2021.


Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS)

National Cancer Institute SBIR Concept Award. White papers due 3/26/2021.

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

Not ready for April due date? Start planning for September 5 – Learn about the NIH Applicant Assistance Program – portal opens 4/26/21 and closes 5/20/21

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


National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF SBIR and STTR Phase I. Project Pitches are always accepted. Remaining submission window close dates: 6/3/2021, 9/2/2021, 12/2/2021

About America's Seed Fund Update

Our goal is to provide a range of information that will be valuable to the SBIR/STTR programs’ various stakeholders, and future issues will include features on program data, impacts and policies, and more. If you have suggestions, let us know at

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About SBA Office of Innovation and Technology

The U.S. Small Business Administration serves as the coordinating agency for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs - also known as America's Seed Fund. SBA also manages the related Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program and Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Learn more at 

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